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Phillip Thomas

BIOGRAPHY

Phillip Thomas was born in Kingston Jamaica on February 20, 1980.  Upon graduating with a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston Jamaica, Phillip Thomas received a grant from the Cobb Family Foundation as well as a scholarship from the C.H.A.S.E Fund to study and complete a Master’s degree in New York. He completed his studies at the New York Academy of Art, where he graduated at the top of his class and was awarded a fellowship from the Academy.

At the end of his Master’s and during his fellowship year, Phillip produced works that dealt with issues of colonialism in the Caribbean, and many of the issues of classism that persists in Jamaica and the New World, even today. As an artist who is fluctuating between the Americas in a sort of nomadic sense, he developed a very clear picture of the ways in which different cultures of the region have dealt with the issues of colonialism as well as post-colonial conflicts. His work began to ask questions about social identity, in a way that would challenge many traditions about the very subject in Jamaica, critiquing Jamaican culture and its willfully invisible middle-class as well as their relationship with the masses. As one can imagine, presenting the Jamaican image from a multi-cultural perspective raises questions of unease.

As one would expect, multi-culturalism begets xenophobia. This then means that civility becomes the explicit currency of social trade, whilst savagery remains the implicit intent. Phillip’s work takes those behavioral extremities as subjects of exploration in his work, using images and circumstances that reflect those antithetical positions. Phillip is “technically” an oil painter; however, he considers the use of materials to be as displaced as the subjects he creates with it. The very nature of the language and mediums of oil paints speaks to the tradition of image making in the west. A mixture of oil paints, tar, and bauxite earth are just some of the materials he has employed to produce images that reflect the kind of social cross-pollination that is discussed in the subject. Traditional painting techniques come up against an idiosyncratic use of other materials in conjunction with the imagery that demands that kind of polyglot. This use of material “simulates” and expresses technically what is discussed textually, and gives the viewer the presentation of an image that is not seamlessly constructed, but more so, one that presents the image and its “seams” or “stitches.” No attempt is made to mend oppositely sourced materials. The unlikely juxtaposition of the imagery is then reflected using media. This then becomes a means by which the artists can discuss both the language and the subject simultaneously, creating a discourse between the language of painting as well as the subject it is used to explore.

ARTIST STATEMENT

Phillip Thomas manufactures cultural reliquaries, consisting of artifacts and social curiosities that represent the cultural tapestry of the Caribbean and the wider “New World”, using media and other agents of the Old World. The “old master” painting style and the large, conventional painting formats are not used for the sake of the representation per sebut as artifacts of art history.  Hence the entire object produced (consisting of stretcher bars, frames, oil paints, and all the other elements and media that make up such objects) is a manifestation of an archeological response to agents of the Old World as well as products of the new. This allows for a kind of meta-discourse between the originals and derivatives of Western art history which speaks to the nature of colonialism and its aftermath.

“Even my decision to study at the New York Academy of Art, a traditionalist ‘French Academy’ in the United States, is rooted in my interest in cross-cultural pollination. My work is concerned with specific Old World cultures that are relevant to the Caribbean, predominantly the English, the French and the Spanish. Each of these cultures is reflected in the body of works presented. ‘Master Copies’ of Turner, Ribera and sections of Velazquez’ paintings are fused into the discourse of my paintings, not as mere hints of artistic influence but also as cultural relics.”

CV

EDUCATION

2006–2008 New York Academy of Art, New York, NY
Masters of Fine Arts, Honors – Painting
Acclamation for the most achieved student of the graduating class
1998-2003 Edna Manley College, Saint Andrew, Jamaica
Bachelors in Visual and Performing Arts, Honors (Painting)
1997–1998 Port more Community College, Saint Catherine, Jamaica
CXC – Engineering Drawing Distinction

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS

2017 I am (In) Visible, RD Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY
2017 Urban Revival, RJD Gallery, Bridgehampton, NY
2016 Pieces of My Soul, Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
2016 Parallel Universe, Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
2016 Barbed Wire & Picket Fences, Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
2015 Recollections & Realities | A Figurative Focus, Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery, Sag
Harbor, NY
2015 A Magic Menagerie, Richard J. Demato Fine Arts Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
2014- 15 National Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica.
2014 Shattered Boundaries RJD Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
2014 Art Southampton Art Fair, New York Academy of Art Booth
Southampton, NY
2014 ArtHamptons Art Fair, RJD Gallery Booth, Bridgehampton, NY
2014 LA Art Show, RJD Gallery Booth, Los Angeles, CA
2013 ArtHamptons Art Fair, RJD Gallery Booth, Bridgehampton, NY
2012-13 National Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica.
2012 Take Home a Nude, Sotheby’s Auction House, New York, NY
2012 Contemporary Jamaican Art, Circa 1962-2012, Art Gallery of Mississauga, Ontario Curated by Veerie Poupeye
2011 Solo Exhibition, Civil Savages, RJD Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY
2011 Contemporary Jamaican Artists, The Inter-American Development Bank, Washington, DC.
2010 National Biennial, National Gallery of Jamaica, Kingston, Jamaica.
2010   Take Home a Nude, Sotheby’s Auction House, New York, NY
2010 Young Talent 5, Kingston Jamaica
The National Gallery Of Jamaica
2009 Social Curiosities, New York, NY
An exhibition of new work by the three 2008-09 Fellows of the New York Academy of Art Summer Exhibition 2009, New York, NY
Juried by Eric Fischl, Matthew Flowers and Anne Strauss, New York Academy of Art
2008 Group exhibition: Michael Heffernan Matthew Miller Phillip Thomas, New York, NY
Flowers Gallery New York
Master Thesis Exhibition, New York, NY
2008 New York Academy of Art
Man Hunt! New York, NY
2008 New York Academy of Art
Under 40 Artist of the Year Competition, Kingston Jamaica
2006 The Mutual Life Gallery, awarded the People’s Choice Award
Revelations of a Changing Generation, Kingston Jamaica
2006 Hue Dunphy Gallery
National Biennale of Jamaica, Kingston Jamaica
2005 National Gallery of Jamaica
Final Year Exhibition, Kingston Jamaica
2003 Edna Manley College

AWARDS & PUBLICATIONS

2014 Callaloo Art, Inagural Issue
2014 American Art Collector August Edition, Vol. 106, “Shattered Boundaries” Show Preview
2013 ARC Magazine, “Dethroning the Nation: Redefining Realism in the work of Phillip Thomas”
2013 NY Times: Upcoming Art Events announcing the opening of “Enchanted Impressions”
2011 “About Changes in Latin America and the Caribbean” World Bank
2010 “Jamaican Art Then and Now” edited, Petrine Archer Aaron Matalan Award:
2008 National Biennale of Jamaica, Kingston Jamaica
First prize in The National Gallery of Jamaica’s National Biennial, the premier national art exhibition in Jamaica.
2008 New York Academy of Art Fellowship: New York Academy of Art, New York, NY Awarded annually, includes studio accommodation, stipend and major exhibition at the Academy
2006 Chase Grant: Chase Fund Organization, Kingston Jamaica Financial grant for most promising artist to pursue masters of fine art degree
2006 Smile Jamaica: TV’s Morning Television Program, Kingston Jamaica
Major Jamaican television broadcasting network interview for recipient of the Chase Fund masters of fine arts grant
2003 Gleaner Art Review: Gleaner Newspaper, Kingston Jamaica
2003 Highlighted in Jamaica’s major newspaper review of Edna Manley College exhibition Artists in Studio: Radio Mona, Kingston Jamaica
Major Jamaican radio station’s one on one interview of an artist’s process in painting
2003 Albert Huey Painters Award: Edna Manley College, Kingston Jamaica

COLLECTIONS

World Bank The Chetrit Group
Peggy Cooper Cafrtiz NY Academy of Art

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Lighthouse

18" x 18" / 45.7 x 45.7cm
Oil on Panel

Ironwing

48" x 36" / 121.9 x 91.4cm
Oil on Canvas

Little Red and The Wolf

15" x 24" / 38.1 x 61cm
Oil on Canvas

Spotlight

8" x 10" / 20.3 x 25.4cm
Oil on Linen Mounted on Aluminum

Pete’s Tavern

12" x 9" / 30.5 x 22.9cm
Oil on Linen Mounted on Aluminum

Cassandra

12" x 9" / 30.5 x 22.9cm
Oil on Aluminum

Night Owl

30" x 24" / 76.2 x 61cm
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas

Fortitude

31.5" x 23.5" / 80 x 59.7cm
Oil on Aluminum Panel

Observance

36" x 24" / 91.4 x 61cm
Oil on Canvas

Little Boat

7.9" x 9.8" / 20.1 x 24.9cm
Acrylic on Wood Panel

From the High Diving Board

9" x 6.3" / 22.9 x 16cm
Acrylic on Wood Panel

June

9.1" x 11.8" / 23.1 x 30cm
Acrylic on Wood Panel

Desde La Cuna

18" x 15" / 45.7 x 38.1cm
Oil on Wood Panel

El Favorito

18" x 15" / 45.7 x 38.1cm
Oil on Wood Panel

Embarcados

18" x 15" / 45.7 x 38.1cm
Oil on Wood Panel

El Invitado

18" x 15" / 45.7 x 38.1cm
Oil on Wood Panel

Insomnia

27" x 23" / 68.6 x 58.4cm
Colored Pencil on Bristol Board

Big Mickey and Big Minnie (Diptych)

48" x 36" / 121.9 x 91.4cm
Oil on Canvas

Oshoi’s Gets His Crown

20" x 23" / 50.8 x 58.4cm
Oil on Linen

Nature Girl

38" x 28.5" / 96.5 x 72.4cm
Oil on Linen

The Donalds

24" x 24" / 61 x 61cm
Oil on Canvas

Mini Robot

34" x 24" / 86.4 x 61cm
Oil on Canvas

Hostess Twinkie

30" x 36" / 76.2 x 91.4cm
Oil on Canvas

Hostess Cupcake

30" x 36" / 76.2 x 91.4cm
Oil on Canvas

Candy Canes

24" x 30" / 61 x 76.2cm
Oil on Linen

Putting Out The Fires

30" x 30" / 76.2 x 76.2cm
Oil on Canvas

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