Description

Much of Brad Phillips’s painting is autobiographical. He mines his own experience for subjects and creates images of a personal nature that admit us into his inner world, as if laying him bare. This is true of Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, a painted version of one of his medical prescriptions, presented as a self-portrait. The content lends the work a confessional tone, whereas the large format and the realistic rendering are exhibitionist in nature. In transforming personal information into a representational motif, Phillips also plays on the stereotypes associated with the artist figure, characterizing the artist as a tormented, ultrasensitive and, in this case, mentally troubled being. But at the same time he reveals the truth behind the cliché by exposing himself in all his failings and vulnerability. J. B.

Historical Vignette