A compilation of songs by Jessye Norman
The range of works and genres covered on the compilation gave me inspiration to show works of different tones, medium, and work phases together. The coexistence of the dramatic aria sequence from Dido and Aeneas “Thy hand Belinda. When I am laid in Earth” and the uplifting, overcoming Spiritual “Amazing Grace” personally for me reflect the moment of these times and range of emotions that we seem collectively confronted with. I particularly appreciate that the title “Between Love and Loss” addresses a range, rather than a combination of feelings. Drainer II and the two Purifier versions reflect a similar kind of range.
Phillips’ look at the intersections of race and gender complicates the boundaries between the powerful and the powerless, the liberated and the subjugated, the torturer and the tortured.
Although many of her works insinuate an idea of functionality due to their titles and mechanical construction, they are not usable due to their ephemeral fragility. The work betrays a delicateness that is not just physical, but also delves much deeper into a social psyche – into which the artist invites her audience.
Many of the featured works focus on movement and engagement, such as Negotiator (#2), 2021, a large steel wheel supported by ceramic spokes, and Connection Studies, 2015, a group of four drawings that muse upon the ways physical materials are often joined together. Similarly, traces of movement are inscribed onto the surface of the monotype Dance Marks, 2014, and two videos reference the body in motion.
While much of Phillips’s work has examined the power dynamics at play in external interactions, she has recently started to explore the relationships one has with oneself. A new series of sculptures debuted here, the Purifiers, is influenced by various spiritual practices and illustrates this notion of inward-facing reflection.
The intellectual framework my art originates from lies at the intersection of Black Feminist, Postcolonial, and Psychoanalytic Thought. My sculptural work thinks about relations and relationships. The ideas in my work can be applied to the small scale of interpersonal relationships, up to a larger scale of social relations.
I think part of my desire is to give the psyche a visual, nonverbal language, and a voice that can be heard by a broad range of audiences, ideally. What we do with what we hear is our own responsibility.