Jerry Phillips

maybe nothing was said/might be continued

December 10th 2016 - February 4th 2017

Tops Gallery is pleased to announce maybe nothing was said/might be continued, an exhibition of drawing and sculpture by Jerry Phillips.

Using a variety of found photographic images and texts as inspiration, Phillips renders details from these sources in lush drawings that speak to the complexities of expression and communication. For the exhibition at Tops, Phillips' selection of drawings reflects several visual strategies for addressing these themes. Some drawings consist of abstracted fragments that hint at a larger picture, while other drawings combine random images superimposed upon each other and are rendered so as to create a suggestive visual dialogue between layers. In one drawing a small detail from a photo of an Apollo lunar module is reduced to an interplay of graphite shadows which seductively deny their subject while hinting at something elusive and indecipherable. Another drawing combines the image of a celebrity hiding her face with that of a detail of a prison uniform, overlaid to suggest a narrative relationship which begs for interpretation, yet is ultimately arbitrary. A different series of drawings consists of copies of deleted texts from historical literary manuscripts that portray moments of creation in which second thoughts arise and communication is revised. The drawings are realized by applying multiple layers of graphite to achieve a seductive surface quality that is built up in a way that feels more like a burnished impression than traditional draughtsmanship. This effortful, but subtle process personalizes the found image through the artist's deep engagement.

In addition to drawings, Phillips is presenting three-dimensional work in porcelain and black light that illuminates ideas about artistic production and the quest for a successfully articulated art object.