PHILIP BARLOW: still motion


Untitled Copy

PHILIP BARLOW: still motion
Nov 8 – Nov 30, 2017

The city holds a mass of movement and story. My intention is to capture the "still motion" that occurs within its space. Within the captured image or at least, the images I choose to then paint, lies a marriage of colour, form and light which display the 'random' occurrence of life yet there is always a present and very tangible sense of 'design’.

- Philip Barlow 2017

Everard Read CIRCA presents still motion the second solo exhibition by Philip Barlow at the Everard Read Gallery in Cape Town. The exhibition runs from the 8th until the 30th of November 2017.

In 2015 Barlow captured the movements of a day to night in Tokyo city centre. Now in 2017 he expands further upon his investigation within the ‘bokeh’ (1) genre of painting. The artist explains now that in still motion: this new body of work carries on from my on-going quest. That being the search with a camera, the moving 'spark' that needs to be framed and captured. That spark where the light, form and colour all collide to reveal the 'beauty' that these elements can display

Barlow engages here in daylight scenery, and the seemingly 9-5 movements of a city at work. Street scenes with silhouettes of cars streamline and blend alongside human forms going about their everyday travels. Actively following ‘bokeh’ through the whole body of paintings Barlow explains form ‘is effected by the light and because of the ‘bokeh’ aspect, leaves an ambiguous and intriguing but not entirely non sensical state of reality.’ There is for the artist an elusive moment on each surface he paints where time is immortalized, and distilled in a real but unquantifiable form of gracefulness and ‘glory’.

Paintings within still motion move in ebbs and flows. From groups of brightly dressed peoples to renderings of concrete surfaces and metal forms with small glimpses of vibrant colour. The dimensions of this body of works takes its key from wide format film, which Barlow feels ' lends itself to expanse and was at the same time a creative challenge'. The quiet visual realities of the brick and concrete of an urban city swirl and buzz, highlights architectural forms that often go unseen despite surrounding us all, everyday.

Barlow’s ‘ingredient’s serve to challenge him. As we go about our lives, his ambitions in his practice are to investigate the quieter reality of our metropolitan world, offering a magically and somewhat surreal frequency of our existence. Explaining that for him:the illumination of the colour…. this colour ingredient serves to communicate a ‘symphony of emotion’ and is the cause of unknown and varying emotional responses for me. I am fascinated and amazed by the way colour has its own world of communication within itself and at the same time outwardly to the viewer.’

By using the captured ‘photographic’ image and portraying it in the ‘bokeh’ manner Barlow chooses to do, there is a discovery of a simpler beauty in urban forms and life. A manner where scale, colours and depths of fields act as both a sharp and softer statements on the creative journey for the artist.  

A walkabout with the artist will be held on Saturday 18th November at 11:00am in Everard Read.

A portfolio is available upon request


*Images courtesy of Michael Hall