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Phillip James Frost Review By Naomi Boult

Philip Frost’s current show Paper Work at a gallery proves to be a cohesive exhibition of the artist’s recent work, complete with the customary pop-culture references as well as more personal themes.  The uniformity of his style works particularly well in the gallery, the austerity of the walls and space being the perfect foil for Frost’s bold colours and chaotic collage.

At times Frost’s work can be exceptional, when he seems to possess an instinctual ability to work with composition and colour to make something that has inherent beauty.  The most striking example of this in his latest show is Head in a Box; a work that brings to mind taxonomical classifications, phrenology and deranged collectors of the macabre.   As dark and unsettling as it is, the work has a strange allure created by exquisite use of shadowy, muted shades and the off center configuration of the imagery.  This work, although it sits rather uncomfortably with his others, exemplifies the admirable work Frost is periodically able to deliver.

The collaged works in Paper Work can occasionally appear formulaic, but Frost avoids saturating his audience with stale imagery by including a few compositions of varying technique.  One such example of his departure from rote is his piece Untitled (2011) which depicts a cosmonaut adrift in a sea of fingerprints which evoke the stylistic legacy of the late Sigmar Polke. 

This show predominantly consists of works that we have come to expect from Frost, containing allusions to contemporary culture with varying levels of success.  It is the inclusion of pieces which signal a different direction for the artist, however, that prevents this show from becoming overly predictable and merits heading to Princes Street to view.

Philip James Frost, Paper Work is showing at a gallery, 393 Princes Street until April 2nd, 2011

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Filed under: Art

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