Benjamin Phillips



Benjamin Phillips' figures in bronze, primarily representing male bodies, define the nature of sexuality both as anguish and as an axis around which turns the human psyche.   The impassive forms are forthright in their exploration of sexuality, but they also concede to a sense of shame about the body, its ugliness and its vulnerability.


"Since 2003, I have been assembling a body of figurative sculptures that reflect the male perspective, loosely based around the literal and metaphorical concept of male virile energy and its influences on our culture. My inspirations for art derive from pre-Christian heroic form, sex, death, and the discomforts that surround modern society's corporeal experience.
 
By using a classical sculpture material, bronze, and drawing heavily from references to Greek mythology, I strive to quietly subvert the traditions we have grown accustomed to with figurative bronze art by reversing its gender-specific stereotypes.  For example, fortitude and self assertion are trademark symbols in art history for masculine expression, while surrender and repose are often reserved for female expression.  By exchanging these stereotypes, a new context is exposed for inquiry into both the stereotype and the form.  These may be sensitive, even controversial topics to be addressed, but to not inquire would seem to be denying a very basic aspect of human nature. 


This project began with my attraction to the physical characteristics and associations with bronze.  The material intuitively fit with my ideas surrounding the questions I was asking myself about masculinity and its contemporary as well as historic role in society, both on an individual and on a greater social scale.  Bronze's natural permanency compliments my motives in recording insights into the subject as an enduring record and as a stimulus for dialogue into the re-evaluation of our representative cultural record."


 

Education
1995 -1998   Honors BFA, Visual Arts, University of Victoria
1991 -1995    BA Comparative Religion, Acadia University
2003 - 2008   Art Institute Residency, Capilano College, North Vancouver
Solo Exhibitions
2007      Chthonian Dialogue  Access Artist Run Centre’s Project Room, Vancouver, BC
2007      Discomfort Zones  Capilano College Studio Arts Gallery, North Vancouver, BC
2005      Dry Run Capilano College Studio Arts Gallery, North Vancouver, BC
2001      (f)art Broadway Lee Building, Vancouver, BC
1999       Current Works, Rogue Art Gallery, Victoria, BC
1998      Duh Duh, Vertical Gallery, Open Space Gallery, Victoria, BC
Group Exhibitions
2006     Beyond Borders International Art Exhibition University of Western Washington,
            Bellingham, WA
2005     Sex Art Vote Yes Sex Party [of BC] Political Campaign Event, Vancouver, BC
2003     Annual UBC Photo Society Exhibition, UBC AMS Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2002     Salon Show, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, BC
2001     International Digital Art Competition, Beecher Center for Technology in the Arts,
            Youngstown, OH
2001     Eastside Culture Crawl, Vancouver, BC
2001     Propaganda II, Addicted Guerrilla Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2000     'Quick Draw Open Space Gallery, Victoria, BC
Awards
2007         The Shirley Eastcott Memorial Scholarship, Capilano College, North Vancouver
2005 The Capilano College Bursary Fund
2004 The Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation Grant
1998 The Helen Pitt Bursary for the Fine Arts