Philip Buller: An Other
Philip Buller: An Other
October 25 – November 26, 2013
Opening Thursday Night, October 24, 2013
Location: Quidley & Company
38 Newbury Street
Boston, MA 02116
contemporary figurative painter, Philip Buller exploits ambiguity and incorporates abstract elements to create naturalistic, captivating, works of art. The artist imagines his studio as a mine. Buller studied silver mines for a commissioned work in Park City, Utah and considers his experience profoundly inspiring. “I realized what a beautiful metaphor mining is for making art and living our lives…Miners are in the dark, searching for something of value, and that’s what I feel like when I’m working. I’m searching during the creative process for some meaning.” Buller approaches painting in a physical manner by layering and removing paint, and at times paints through mesh screens. His large-scale format of work allows him to command the canvas like a dancer manipulates a stage.
Understanding his paintings evolve intuitively, the artist deepens his commitment to painting in the moments he feels at a loss for what to do. Buller engages with his subconscious to paint from his intuition, unconscious associations, and distractions. His feelings flood from his soul in bursts of color, where they settle onto canvas. His painting style may not be photorealistic, but, in a way, his method represents a truer form that exists discrete from the literal. The ambiguity of the blurred images encourages viewers to delve deeper into the aura of the aesthetic. Meaning exists within the fragmentation and dissociation of his work. Rather than staring at a “resolved” piece, viewers experience a visceral interpretation in their own minds.
Born to diplomat parents, Philip Buller spent his formative years in vastly different cultures in India, Africa, Washington DC and New England. The young artist was encouraged by his family to explore his creativity in a variety of areas, and Philip developed an avid interest in music and visual arts. He studied graphic design, toured as a musician, and worked as a builder before formally studying painting and drawing at the California College of Arts and Crafts, where he received his MFA in 1994.
Buller’s representational paintings are devoid of historical references, transcending literal narratives and signifying universal themes. Compositionally intriguing, his paintings at first glance present a visual chaos of patterns and figurative elements. Upon closer inspection, however, they resolve into a sometimes dense layering of forms and figures, some distinct and detailed and others merely hinted at with lush, summary brushstrokes. His compositions cohere as a result of the dynamic relationships between forms and color, and by a rhythmic quality that pulses across the canvas. Buller’s paintings are executed in part by utilizing a technique that involves painting directly onto metal screen mesh, which is then applied directly onto the canvas, transferring the imprint of the mesh along with the image itself. The process, which has its roots in printmaking and reflects the artist’s background in graphic design, allows Buller to marry traditional subject matter with a more modern technical approach.
Buller explains, “I apply paint, remove paint – creating and obscuring forms. A form must be fully realized before it can be obscured. The ambiguity of a blurred image often encourages me to reach below a literal interpretation of form.”