DIMENSIONS 12" x 9.5" MEDIUM ink on archival pigment print
Unique work from a series of 14
Signed by the artist en verso
Doesn't it feel like someone is always telling you what to do? Does that mean that it's actually happening? Or does it just feel like it is? Reality on a sliding scale. Whose voice is speaking? Brad Phillips knows that thoughts are forward facing but can rotate like a prism, which is why his text and his paintings and his text paintings read like confessional autobiographies but aren't. Or are they?
In To Do List, life gets equalized. A hand-scrawled numerated list, hallmark of the mundane, is elevated and transformed: pen in notebook becomes paint on canvas, which transmutes into archival print edition. Daily hierarchies of priorities are leveled with a realistic glare, demanding an unfettered exposé into cycles of thought. The image is frank, obvious, and magic: by providing the feeling of raw honesty, Phillips' work remains both steeped in and guarded from personal truth, transforming himself and his audiences into voyeurs.
In his new hand-touched series based on To Do List, fact and fiction blur closer. There is now a new command which to attend, to obey, dampened and dried ink on the page like tears. Who gets to tell you what to do? In his 2019 book Essays and Fictions, Phillips wrote, "Important to remember this is all fiction. Directed to myself or to you—it doesn’t matter. It’s all fiction. Remember though that all writing is fiction." If language is unreliable, then what else is there to do? It might be helpful to start writing a list. Or collect someone else's. Then you can say it's yours.