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Press Release


September 8 - October 6, 2001

On September 8th Friedrich Petzel Gallery will open America, an exhibition of seven new paintings by Richard Phillips representing contemporary social and political issues. This will be Phillips' second solo show with the gallery. There will be an opening reception from 6-8 PM on the 8th.

Iconography traditionally sits choked up and mute, smirky and slappable. But Richard Phillips de-contextualizes the images that normally sit opaquely on top of each other. His work forms a sequence of subtly disturbing social markers.There is a determination to bring clear eyes to those things that normally cancel each other out. Seen side by side his related yet apparently contradictory image choices provide a new transparency of control and desire. Removing veils and mucking about with disguise.

A coming together of mid-points within a dynamic of action. Posed and presented, just before and just after; caught on the hop, the click of the camera during a porn video. The President looking dumbly ambiguous. Strange claggy stuff on a hard to scale Stonewall Riot memorial. Laborious, detailed, hard crafted and still of the moment. Multiple references locked down and preserved. There is nothing hidden here, no bruising or fluffing of composition or style. Richard Phillips exposes our problematic relation to the visual markers of our time. The range here floats past the contemporary to embrace the breakdown of consensus. This work is the result of a stringent pedantry that refuses to sublimate the echoes of the recent past, swamping the procession and turn-over of contemporary images through pig-headed focus on those pictures that stand in-front of us, challenge the eye and suggest, this is what I thought you wanted; this is what you might deserve.

Liam Gillick, August 2001
For further information, please contact the gallery at, or call (212) 680-9467.