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Imaginative and Inventive “Figures of Fun”

By Dennis Paquette, photos P. L. Phillips

Figures of Fun, opening April 3 at Galería MuRo, in Cafe Muro at Loreto 10B, is a collection of new mixed-media sculptures that blend the diverse interests of paper arts, painting, and doll making. Referred to as mixed mâché by artist Philip Louis Phillips, each piece of art begins with a wire form or cardboard structure that is wrapped in layers of paper and fabric scraps from old books, old clothing, or even the paper towels used to wipe up after a round of construction. Further additions are as varied as the pieces themselves. Polymer clay faces, each hand-formed and unique, are added in often surprising ways. And to this construction process is added the flotsam and jetsam of the street: rusted wire, bottle caps, feathers, stones, and bits of wood.

Figures of Fun
Philip Louis Phillips
Mixed media art show
Fri, Apr 3 – Fri, May 1, 10am-4pm
Galería MuRo, Café Muro
Loreto 10B
Open to public for free

Originally intended to be satirical pieces, Mr. Phillips says, “After working with each one for a very short time, I find humanity, a commonality in the faces and in the stories of the figures that emerge in my head as they start having a life of their own.” Adding with a smile, “I can’t mock them any more harshly than I mock myself.” The figures are derived from a long tradition of figure making that has been part of human existence, among the oldest known art. “I like to try to distill these ancient forms and motives in art into whatever kind of art I am making… But I can’t suppress my own sense of surreal humor.”

Part art doll, part wire sculpture, as well as part theater, the main figures of the show are set in their own wall-mounted stages defining the differences between the figures (dancer, shaman,  tired shopper) which becomes difficult when the faces aren’t heroic or pretty but enigmatically emotional.  Also included and in similar vein are twig dolls (or spirit dolls) that Mr. Phillips calls “little household gods.” These spirit figures also contain some of the same wry humor and light surreality that can be found in the larger figures.

“Figures” can be seen at Galería MuRo during open hours of MuRo Cafe at Loreto 10B (every day except Wednesday, from 10am to 4pm). An open to public meet-and-greet the artist will be held on Friday, April 10, from 1 to 4pm. Pieces may be purchased at the gallery.


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