Photo by Chris Wucherer
Joseph 180 presents the distinct directions in recent paintings by Philip Joseph. One path follows in the long tradition of landscape painting and begins with photographs by the artist that are taken from many different sites. The paintings are crafted with great attention to space, color, and texture. The other non-objective paintings are experimental in nature, and usually start with no particular vision, but follow a path of intuitive and spontaneous searching. Initial marks, gestures, and swaths of color build to complex surfaces full of abstract imagery and mystery.
The varied approaches to painting involve very different ways of thinking and help to keep the creative process lively and fresh. These paths have in common a deep engagement in the act of painting and the fluid nature of the paint itself. The artist’s goal is to create paintings that express visual beauty and enough depth and mystery to long endure. To paraphrase the painter Henri Matisse “What I dream of is an art of balance, purity, and serenity - - - something like a good armchair which provides relaxation.”
Phil Joseph spent his early life on a farm in NW Michigan surrounded by the lakes, forests, and orchards of the region. He started drawing at a young age, and always knew that Art would be an important part of his life. The natural beauty of the environment would lead to and inform his landscape paintings.
He earned a BA in Art at Manchester University and an MFA in Painting from Michigan State, where he studied with Angelo Ippolito. He then joined the Art faculty of Miami University (Ohio) and taught drawing and painting for the next twenty-eight years. After retiring from teaching in 2003, he returned to NW Michigan and built a house and studio near Lake Michigan and Portage Lake. His wife, Susan, is an accomplished artist. They have exhibited together, and each summer they take part in a studio tour around Portage Lake.
Phil has exhibited widely and worked with numerous galleries, primarily in Ohio and Michigan, and has produced site-specific paintings for corporate collections in New York, Princeton, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, and Columbus, OH. His paintings are in more than a hundred public and corporate collections. He has been in many solo and group exhibitions and has won awards at regional and national levels.
The past few years have been highly productive, and he spends nearly every day in his studio. The current work continues to weave between landscape inspired paintings and abstract work that is highly inventive. The most recent paintings focus on close in images of plant forms and push his color palette in new directions.