Watercolor artist P. (Philip) Smallwood will be talking about his Charleston and regionally focused work at Carolina Galleries. Philip will be in the gallery for a special opening of his watercolor paintings on February 5, 2010 from 5-8 pm, with an artists lecture at 6:30 p.m.
Philip Smallwood is known for his signature “Lifescapes”, a wonderful form of portraiture and visual narrative. His Lifescapes are intended to engage the viewer and allow them to connect with the subject’s emotional experience of life. In his painting Destiny, the little girl looks directly at the viewer. Her expression and the detail of her face draw the viewer in and wanting to know more about her. In other works, the viewer feels as if they have walked into a slice of the subjects life.
“Through my paintings, I ask the viewer to stop, engage and experience the individual lives portrayed — with all their aspirations, dreams and desires – and really see them as worthy of their observation. I want to bring my subjects into the world in a majestic and profound way, to put them on a pedestal and make them royalty in terms of the artistic content.” Smallwood explains.
As a primarily self-taught artist, the process by which he creates a Lifescape is intuitive and exploratory. Philip creates from his own vision rather from any particular artistic school. His artistic vision is unique, specific and intentional. Philip Smallwood’s work is also highly drafted and finely finished. Before becoming a full time fine artist, Philip founded Woodtopia, Inc., a furniture fabrication and design company that produced commercial and one-of-a-kind artisan pieces. The artisan works, including functional objects such as tables and chairs, challenged the traditional expectation of line and form. The experience of designing and woodworking enabled Smallwood to experiment with volume, line, form, finish and artistic representation. These are all elements that play an important role in the composition of Philip’s work today. Examples of his use of form and line are evident in his watercolor My Turn, which is on display at Carolina Galleries now. This piece gives a window frame, with its’ dark vertical and horizontal lines, an important part in the overall composition.
Smallwood, who currently resides in New Jersey, spent many years living and traveling throughout the Southeast and much of his work is inspired by rural families in the South. Charleston has always been source of inspiration for Philip. However, Smallwood is currently working on a new body of work that highlights a young man growing up in New York City. This new series marks a shift to a more edgy and intense urban setting. This recent body of work gives a sense a familiarity to anyone who lives in a metropolitan city in the US. A few pieces from this series will be on view at Carolina Galleries on February 5th. Philip Smallwood is often inspired by people who may be experiencing unfortunate circumstances. He enjoys portraying them in an idealist way. He believes this gives the viewer a chance to really look at the good in these people. His subjects are often people that a viewer may not take the time to get to know because of their specific circumstances.
Smallwood attended the University of Miami and graduated with a B.S. in Biology and a Minor in Art. Through watercolor, Smallwood found a medium that allowed him to blend his love of the human form with light, color and a fluid surface ideal for telling the human narrative that has become the heartbeat of his work. Today, his Lifescape watercolors are the culmination of his artistic relationships with structure, shape, volume, finish, light and color filtered through the eye of his life experiences and values.
Philip’s work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions, including The Craven Gallery, The Parrish Art Museum in South Hampton and The Studio Museum in Harlem. In October of 2009, Philip was honored with Best in Show at the Philadelphia International Art Expo. Last year, he also was awarded by the New Jersey Watercolor Society for his outstanding work.
For more information on Philip’s work or the opening & artist talk on February 5th, please contact the Carolina Galleries at (843) 720-8622 or visit them online at http://www.carolinagalleries.com.