Charcoal Testament: Drawings by Joel Daniel Phillips

March 09, 2019 - May 12, 2019

The only way to truly understand something is to draw it.”–Charles-Édouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier)

“This is the center of my work—an attempt to sincerely grasp what I see around me through the tip of a pencil and a piece of charcoal. At its root, the act of drawing necessitates a concentrated study of not only the physical attributes of the subject, but the emotional as well. We live in a world that consumes images at an exponentially increasing rate. Smartphones, social media and the internet have made the creation and the consumption of images not just commonplace, but unavoidable, and with this ever-growing consumption comes a numbness to the complex reality of the images we gorge ourselves upon.

My process is inherently about labor, and against the modern backdrop of instant, image-driven gratification, I have found the physical process involved in the painstaking, craft-driven and anachronistic rendering of a subject or a moment to be ever more important. The rigorous, meditative labor of observation through draughtsmanship is a means to an end. This end being, for me, a deeper and richer understanding of the world around me and the complexity of its histories.”

-Joel Daniel Phillips

Joel Daniel Phillips is an American artist whose work focuses on the tenets of classical draftsmanship employed in monumental formats. Inspired by the depth and breadth of human experience, he strives to tell the personal and societal histories etched in the faces of those around him. Through the tip of his pencil, the artist seeks to find moments where our projected senses of self are transparent, allowing deeper, more truthful emotions to become visible.

This exhibition is curated by Curator of Contemporary Art Josef Zimmerman.