Philip Gurrey

Numb, 2010

Oil and beeswax on board

31 x 31 cm


Initially, Philip Gurrey’s abstract portrait ‘Numb’ (2010) seems to focus on the physicality of the paint. At first glance, Gurrey’s fleshy paintings possess a subconscious and nostalgic quality through his ‘painterly’ approach. Simultaneously, the artist’s ‘After Goya Series’ which is a contemporary reworking of Fransisco Goya’s Crucified Christ relates to his piece ‘Numb’ (2010).

Importantly, in his work, Gurrey focuses on and around history and politics. In particular, his ‘painted investigations’ pay homage to specific historical movements. Here we see, Gurrey focuses each of his points of interest on themes that influence the way we live today. Purposefully, Gurrey’s early work drew on the painted language of the Dutch golden age. Similarly, he strives to sculpt a new age vision of a modern society by borrowing directly from works by Rubens and Anthony van Dyck.

In conclusion, Gurrey strives to create non-existent personalities which are scarred,  bruised from conflict in his abstract portrait work. In turn, these poignant images scrape beneath the surface of the flesh and blood and depict a fresh vision of the human condition. Finally, this is pulled together by cohesion in subject matter and medium as the works are carefully attributed by historical subjective.

“These ‘portraits’ are distorted by the manner in which they are painted. The pushing together of four or five traditional portraits into one new whole. This distortion turns the portrait, an image of a subject, into a subject in itself with no sitter. These works become “portraits” of nobody and everybody, more a portrait of time or history rather than a specific sitter. This is not an interest in self-image rather an interest in man’s fascination with image, identity, beauty, death and gender.”

From the same artist

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