In Holy Ghosts and Talk Show Hosts Dunedin-based artist Brendan Jon Philip uses paint on board to explore the blurred boundaries between fiction and the real. Across the eight works in this exhibition he alludes to the real world of science and discovery through the popular imagery and imaginings of early video games (Dungeons & Dragon), post-apocalyptic and science fiction (Russell Hoban, Philip K. Dick. H.P. Lovecraft) and music (experimental musical group Coil).
With a bold hand and a vivid pallet the artist infuses Einstein’s
space-time model with popular gang/heavy metal (and art historical)
skull imagery. Lovecraft’s fictional grimoire, “Necronomicon”, enters
reality through those who believe such a book, capable of “summoning
forth these eldritch monstrosities”, really exists. Philip K. Dick’s
stated experience of extra-terrestrial communication is aligned with
real space exploration through the dog Laika aboard the Sputnik 2. The
Biblical story of Jacob’s Ladder is interpreted through the formalist
relationship of line and circle; the legend of Saint Eustice is
presented through Russell Hoban’s “retrofitting of narrative”.
Each of these works is a record of the art process itself, a visual
document of the artist’s hand and the chance elements of the painting
process distilled into an animated layering of iconography, pure form
and textual elements to generate a palimpsest of human experience and
“The aim here is to transcend the quotidian whilst moving closer
to the true heart of life in all its rough-hewn complexity” – Brendan
Jon Philip, 2013.
Brendan Jon Philip studied at Whitecliffe College of Art and Design
and Elam School of Fine Arts. He also received distinction in Film and
Media Studies at the University of Otago. He has shown in group and solo
shows in Auckland, Wellington, and Dunedin. This is his first
exhibition in Christchurch.