Phillip Thomas (b.1980) is a graduate of the Edna Manley College of Visual and Performing Arts. At this institution he received the Albert Huie Award for Painting at the end of his four-year study. He subsequently received an MFA from the New York Academy of Art, where he studied under Eric Fischl. He received two educational scholarships in support of his MFA: a CHASE fund grant and a grant from the Cobb Family Foundation. Phillip Thomas has been involved in several group shows such as the Super Plus Under 40 Artist of the Year exhibition and competition, where he received the Public’s award, and the 2008 Jamaica National Biennial, at the NGJ, where he was awarded the Aaron Matalon award. His work was also included in the National Biennial at the National Gallery of Jamaica, sold at Sotheby’s, and has been acquired by the World Bank.
Phillip Thomas is considered a realist and he paints with an ease that demonstrates his sure draftsmanship and understanding of the human form. Yet there is more to his artistry than just representation. He harnesses the classical approach of the European masters to cloth and critique his contemporary black subjects. The result is portraits that are appealing because of their conventions and familiarity but also repulsive because of their perverse contradictory content.
Phillip intends to manufacture cultural reliquaries, artifacts and social curiosities that represent the cultural tapestry of the Caribbean and the wider “new world”, using mediums and other agents of the old world. Paintings and other artifacts in this case are not for the sake of the medium of presentation, but more so as an artifact of works of art and art practices of the past hence the entire object produced (stretcher bars, frames, oil paints, Phillip Thomas and all the other elements and mediums of these objects) is a complete manifestation of an archeological response to agents of the old world as well as products of the new.