Phillips and Fairclough’s paintings create a weightless environment, one that urges us to grasp for forms and ground to rest on as we question the reoccurring shapes as figures, objects, and material. About Looking is a nod to the late John Berger, who advocated endlessly for patient and concerted attention in all facets of the arts. We may find steady ground to rest on as a way to assert our knowing of Phillips and Fairclough’s approach and technique, and are pressed to stand back and recalibrate our understanding again and again. To feel or to know these paintings is to feel and know the land and the ground we rest on, as Berger suggests in his text, About Looking, 1980.
It is an invaluable ability and a necessary practice to let go of outcomes while both viewing and making painting. Gracefully and patiently, Phillips and Fairclough’s work allows us freedom while viewing. Let us simply sink and swim in the work and company of Matt Phillips and Travis Fairclough in About Looking.