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Peter Phillips

Biography

Peter Phillips was one of the most outstanding representatives of European Pop Art. He studied at Birmingham College of Art and the Royal College of Art (RCA). He emerged as one of the leading figures in British Pop Art in the 1960s with several fellow RCA students, including Derek Boshier, David Hockney, Allen Jones and R. B. Kitaj. When he was awarded a Harkness Fellowship in 1964, he moved to New York, where he exhibited alongside his American contemporaries Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist. There he quickly absorbed the traits of American youth culture: glamour, energy and sexuality. Reflective of this was the PNEUmatics series of silkscreen prints, in which he made the most of the skills he learned at school and gave the prints an intentionally machine-like appearance similar to that of commercial art production. Philips subsequently returned to Europe. His work, which ranges from conventional oil paintings on canvas to multimedia compositions, collages, sculpture and architecture, has always been distinguished by the use of striking colours and the indiscriminate use of all kinds of icons. He organises his paintings on the basis of regular structures and lattices. A voracious devourer of icons, his canvases range from typical mass-media images to the most colourful pseudo-scientific representations. Phillips described his paintings as "multiple assemblages of spatial, iconographic and technical factors". He stated that, having grown up with advertising and mass communication, he used these images "without a second thought". The quotations from art history and botany, from comics and cinema, frame the painting within the painting in great detail. A perfect maker of the "ready-made" in painting, this artist recreates it, reusing his most famous representations and placing them in a new context. His work is represented in important collections around the world. He currently lives in Australia, where he continues to paint and exhibit.

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