Andrew Phillips writes about his work:
Drawing and painting techniques incorporating varied combinations of ink, graphite, acrylic, and pastel, form the heart of my practice. The style is a juxtaposition of focussed painting or mark making, and more gestural applications of paint, or crushed pastel—which is applied using the fingertips.
What might the earth, and its particular forms and places, be expressions of? This question is at the heart of my work, and the use of ‘landscape’ imagery is intended to evoke an experience of connection between the physical, and our sense of inner life, through which we are connected to
the wider web of the the ‘more than human world.’
Many of the challenges we face today can be thought of in terms of a lost awareness around this eternal connection with all other life, and what may lie beyond. This materialises as an illusory sense of separation—from the ‘natural’ world, from other people, and even between parts of ourselves – causing us to feel conflicted.
Medicine for the kind of healing urgently required by the times in which we live, can be distilled through the reimagining of both the relationship between life and death—or more specifically, between the living and the dead— and the purpose of beauty and grief. In my work I focus on incorporating these two key elements.
Andrew was born and grew up in Worthing, on the coast of Sussex, between the English Channel, and the South Downs. From an early age Andrew sensed a quality of the Numinous within the hills and landscapes of this area, in particular the nearby iron age hillforts of Cissbury, and Chanctonbury. After more than twenty years of regular walking, and relating with these and other locations across the county, Andrew maintains a deep connection to Sussex.
During an arts course at a local college Andrew began to explore the mediums of video, and sound, often incorporating the natural environments and places he was by that time familiar with. Several years later, whilst studying Fine Art: Contemporary Media at the University of South Wales, Andrew became aware of the propensity towards healing inherent in nature, through the spoil heaps remaining from the coal mining industry. Noticing how these were beginning to form part of a new landscape, and becoming home to plants and animals anew, this theme of woundedness and healing in the outer landscape resonated with a growing interest in psyche, soul, and spirituality. This is where Andrew first began to work with ink, pastel, and painted mediums, the emerging images forming the beginnings of the mixed media styles for which his work is recognised today. His undergraduate dissertation was titled ‘Beginning With The Wound: Shamanism in contemporary art’.
After returning to Sussex Andrew began to work in the field of mental health and social care, which has been an ongoing commitment ever since. To weave together his interest in the healing potential within art, and depth psychology, Andrew studied Art Psychotherapy at Goldsmiths College, London. His thesis explored the subject of the art therapist engaging with the materials alongside the client in the therapy session, and the importance of an art therapist having a developed sense of ‘artist identity’.
In 2015 Andrew acted on a long held desire to venture north, and moved to Edinburgh. Pulled by a closer proximity to wilder, more mountainous landscapes, which had developed over the course of many visits to the country since childhood. The five years during which he lived in Edinburgh were formative to his art, and during this time he exhibited work in a range of settings; including joint shows—Kenris MacCleod (A Darkening Thread – 2018), Rowan Paton (Before We Were Even Dreamed – 2017)—and often with Visual Arts Scotland, and The Society of Scottish Artists, to which he was elected as a Professional Member in 2019. Andrew participates in the Scottish Centre for Geopoetics, and his work has been published in their journal Stravaig.
During March 2020, Andrew returned to live in Newport, south east Wales—the place where his interests in landscape, healing, and art, first began to assimilate into what would form the nexus of his ongoing work. In addition to his art practice, Andrew works as an Art Psychotherapist in private practice.
Continuing to maintain strong links with the arts in Scotland, in 2021 Andrew was a shortlisted artist for the Visual Arts Scotland X Bothy Project residency, and invited artist at the Society of Scottish Artists exhibition ‘Re:Connect.’ Two images, inspired by Scottish Borders based artist Autumn Richardson’s esoteric poem, ‘Ajar To The Night,’ are due to be shown at VAS’s Annual Exhibition in 2022.