Brad Phillips

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I remember when I first moved to Vancouver, and told people I was from Toronto, the venom and animosity for my hometown astonished me. Many of the people who were so vehemently hateful of Toronto and had never been there before, I was told. I found this astonishing, because in the 28 years I lived in Toronto, I'd never heard a single person bash Vancouver. If anything, people from Toronto spoke highly of Vancouver—the phenomenal beauty of British Columbia, the number of great artists Vancouver... [more]
What Is and What Is Not: Patrick Howlett at G Gallery   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Patrick Howlett at G Gallery July 10th, 2014 - August 17th, 2014
Posted 8/1/14
The following is a review of paintings by Patrick Howlett, currently on view at G Gallery in Toronto, in which one third of the writing describes what is not on display in the gallery, which is worth valorizing through indicating its absences. The remaining text describes what is. The work in this show is not design oriented. The work in this show is not grey. The work in this show contains no new, modern, iridescent, or futuristic paint or materials. The work in this show is not fey, twee,... [more]
Static Schtick: Owen Kydd at Cooper Cole   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Owen Kydd at Cooper Cole June 19th, 2014 - July 26th, 2014
Posted 7/10/14
Sifting through the biographical information sent to me by the gallery regarding the small (two works total) solo show by Canadian, Los Angeles-based artist Owen Kydd at Cooper Cole, I am unable to find a single page or press snippet that does not contain the information that Kydd studied under and worked for Jeff Wall. If one did not know Kydd's work, or the context in which the information was made available to me, it would be easy to mistake much of this written material as part of a project... [more]
When I first sat down to write, I felt an uncomfortable compulsion to defend the work of photographer Daniel Arnold against comments posted on his Instagram. Three weeks later, after his one-day sale reported on by , there's much more to defend. It's anathema to me to have to defend art. With no inherent purpose, art exists outside of both defense and recrimination. Besides, to defend art is to give credence to the accusations levelled against it, and in the case of Arnold, the accusations and... [more]
Portrait Relief   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Katie Lyle at Erin Stump Projects (ESP) May 15th, 2014 - June 14th, 2014
Posted 5/23/14
Katie Lyle's first solo show at Erin Stump Projects is both promising and relieving. They are paintings that will make your eyes and brain feel satisfied, as well as happy to see something, albeit traditional, that has been suspiciously absent from much contemporary painting: small-scale portraits. In a debut solo exhibition you typically are aware of which artists the artist likes. Of the seven paintings in this show, one nods fairly directly to Picasso (something a painter is almost to do... [more]
Jolie Laide (Back)   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Jay Isaac at Monte Clark Gallery May 3rd, 2014 - May 31st, 2014
Posted 5/23/14
Vancouver is a city notoriously inhospitable to painting. For a town with less than a million people, it's foisted into the world influential artists like Jeff Wall, Ken Lum, Stan Douglas, Rodney Graham, Ian Wallace, and Steven Shearer. Graham occasionally makes a private Picasso, where Shearer, when he makes paintings, seems to be making paintings paintings. Jay Isaac's first solo show with Monte Clark in Vancouver is full of authentic and experimental paintings. Big strange abstract... [more]
From Deep and the Rise of the Dunkadelic Era   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
at Images Festival April 10th, 2014 - April 19th, 2014
Posted 4/26/14
The first three weeks of April in Toronto are host to the 27th incarnation of the Images Festival, which bills itself as the largest festival in North America for "experimental and independent moving image culture." It offers a much needed and relieving, counter to the Toronto International Film Festival. The Images Festival focuses primarily on video art, far too often only seen in the rarefied spaces of contemporary art galleries, and smaller independent films that would perhaps not be... [more]
Peter Doig's Weird Beauty   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Peter Doig at Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) January 26th, 2014 - May 4th, 2014
Posted 3/29/14
The Musee Des Beaux-Arts in Montreal is currently hosting what it claims to be the first comprehensive survey show of Doig's work in North America, freshly arrived from the artist's birthplace, Edinburgh, Scotland. My first encounter with his work was at the large Power Plant show in Toronto in 2001. Doig was born in Edinburgh, and now lives in Trinidad. Canada has tried in many ways to claim him as a national hero. As is stated in the press release, he grew up in Montreal and returned there... [more]
Successfully Safe Sculptures: The Attraction of the Familiar   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Iris Häussler, Jennifer Rose Sciarrino, An Te Liu at Daniel Faria Gallery February 13th, 2014 - March 22nd, 2014
Posted 2/27/14
There's a dubious trend in contemporary art in North America right now that seems to be flying under the radar, likely due to its pleasant appeal and harmlessly inoffensive nature. It's typically a combination of two seemingly nice things: nostalgia and sentiment. This three-person show at Daniel Faria gallery is an example of a sentimental rehashing of modernist sensibilities, and it succeeds on certain levels, in that it looks just like art we know and love. On those same levels it... [more]
Still Life with The Triumphant Carrot   Pick-button-f22fa879042524f5c7b8d2278b2983b8
Robert Arndt, Eric Cameron, James Carl, Hans-Peter Feldmann, Gerald Ferguson, Ceal Floyer, Rodney Graham, Jay Isaac, Elad Lassry, Evan Lee, Arvo Leo, Kelly Lycan, Liz Magor, Rhonda Weppler & Trevor Mahovsky, Kelly Mark, Damian Moppett, Ron Moppett, Brad Phillips, Jayce Salloum, Chris Hanson & Hendrika Sonnenberg, Erica Stocking, Zin Taylor, Sam Taylor-Wood, Ron Tran, Lesley Vance, Jeff Wall, Fischli & Weiss at Vancouver Contemporary Art Gallery June 4th, 2010 - August 22nd, 2010
Posted 6/7/10
        In a supreme gesture of equity, this response includes exactly ten words on each of the thirty artists included in the exhibition. Aside from an almost pathological desire for fairness (and brevity) on behalf of the author, this methodology was employed to conform to the pre-conscribed (downward) word count for this article. Robert Arndt Digitally panned curios invite reverie into the psychology of arrangement.   Sam Taylor-Wood A time-lapse rotting rabbit carcass... [more]