Paulette Phillips is a Canadian artist.
My practice could be viewed as an engagement with the experiential. The decisions made around the work are based in my curiosity surrounding phenomena, how and why things appear. The work is informed by psychology and my sensibility shaped through the uncanny, uncovering the latent and the hidden within the work.
My early practice involved an examination of experience by integrating film, video, and performance. My first piece explored sexuality and how desire was structured. I was interested in the materiality media and how that shaped our perception of experience. Over the past 20 years my work has evolved into a gallery-based installation practice. The materials I use remain consistent, light, energy and structure—a frame that can be either physical or conceptual.
I trained as a filmmaker in the early 90s attending the Canadian Film Center’s boot camp for directors. At that time the art community in Canada was fractious and appeared unreceptive to non-didactic work. I decided to make feature films, not knowing that world was about to fall apart. It was a great learning experience and I came out of that period with a deeper understanding of how to use a camera to construct experience. That got added to my conceptual practice.
Depending on the nature of the work I tend to use constructed film sequences, electro-magnetic force fields, light, and mechanics. All of these materials direct the viewer to think about behavior—the phenomena of us. Work develops through a long-term interest in an event, place, person, or thing. I sustain my interest through research involving books, time spent in that “space” and documenting with a camera. Over time I develop a plan for the inclusion of elements related to the circumstances that determined my initial interest. The work is categorized by essential elements that display instability and paradox. The engagement of the viewer is actively present. They complete the work through their experience of it.
I am working on a number of projects at the moment. I have been working with the site E 1027, a house built in 1929 by Eileen Gray. I am interested in the circumstances that informed her practice and the house, in its ruined state, as a symbol of instability. I am attracted to the idealism represented in modernist architecture and our inability to live up to the ideals we construct. The house appears to be alive, a fact supported by the entropic state I found the house in when I first visited the site in 2003. I am making plants, specifically ferns, walking about in a Victorian garden bath for the Tatton Park Biennale, to be situated in the 500-year-old cultivated garden south of Manchester. I have a longstanding interest in natural history and frame this interest through research involving the evolution of monsters and hybridity. When traveling I visit zoos and natural history museums. I have made and continue to develop a series of small animations that are displayed on discrete portable flat screens. They are constructed landscapes that speak to the mobility of all matter and the agency of critters. The series is titled The Open (monster series) after Giorgio Agamben’s book “The Open (Man and Animal.)”