Review on Phillip James Frost by Ralph Body printed in the Otago Daily Times 31/3/2011

The drawn and painted works of Phillip James Frost possess a visual and emotional rawness, alongside a strange elusiveness. The stressed surfaces of his works on paper are littered with partially effaced imagery and scrawled text which defies legibility. Some feature elements of collage, which adds further texture to these marked, splattered and torn sheets of paper.

 Frost’s imagery ranges from consumer culture to medical-textbook illustrations. However, these subjects which usually appear slick or precise instead convey a sense of disintegration. Some are roughly sketched in an unstable, graffiti-like manner.

Other works recall the appearance of a poster, pasted up outdoors and progressively worn away by the elements, allowing fragments of earlier posters, pasted below, to show through. Particularly striking is Five Fingers, which suggests an overpainted line drawing of the lungs and windpipe. The clinical restraint of an image conceived as diagram gives way to myriad chaotic colours and multidirectional brush marks that simultaneously augment and obliterate the image.

 In this and many other works, a central burst of energy seems to spiral outwards into the surrounding area. Teeth, by contrast, is painted in an all-over manner, appearing like a rainfall of extracted canines and incisors.


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Conceived as a two-year project, ‘a gallery’ opened in February 2011 at 393 Princes Street, Dunedin and closed in September 2012. Strategically placed south of the center of town nestled between tattoo studios, sex shops and a needle exchange. What was integral in the selection of the gallery space was that it would be able to be viewed from the street through the street level floor to ceiling windows. This would allow the artists showing to be exposed not only to viewers visiting the gallery, but also those walking past, as a gallery was to represent artists that did not fit within the commercial gallery context or the so called experimental project space’s, this would be the best way to expose a particular group of artists selected by gallery curator/manager Jay Hutchinson, artists he respected and admired and felt were not being represented in the gallery scene at the time.

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