Philip Madill is a Dunedin artist who draws inspiration from his interest in history to create captivating artworks. Always working towards absolute perfection in his pieces, Philip specialises in drawing and painting, and has been recognised for his skill and precision in this area.
Philip’s imaginative and creative pieces draw the viewer into an alternate world. Realistic components are brought to life by the talent with which they are rendered, and imagined or out-of-place objects and buildings add a deceptively surreal quality to the works. Despite their sometimes stark or disturbing nature, the images have ‘life’ to them, sometimes from a ray of light illuminating a deserted scene, other times through the sense of movement or in a human figure frozen in action. Philip has several times undertaken the painstaking task of drawing moving water. He is a master of the miracle of turning a flat piece of white paper into a 3D image with depth, movement and life.
Philip’s art has been described as “punctilious, eerie (quasi-futurist) works in graphite” and “meticulously worked“. Some combine the natural environment with intrusive technology; others place humans in uncomfortable alternative realities, linked by the artist to ideas of totalitarianism. Rather than dystopian futures as others have described them, I perceive these rather as an imagined dystopian past – possible alternate outcomes if events of the 1940s and 50s had taken a different route. The boxy and primitive technology of the figures in the work below evokes this well.
I am particularly captivated by Philip’s works which contain human figures. Perfectly proportioned and immaculately finished, these works are eerie and believable. They bring a more personal element to the concepts behind the works.
Equally impressive are Philip’s geometric, greyscale paintings. The style is unusual, and the variety of tones brought to the works using only greys is remarkable. These paintings are mindbogglingly precise, and scream of “I could never have done that” – a quality I personally look for when appreciating art.
Philip’s impressive educational achievements have contributed to his artistic style, providing context, content and development. Following on from a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Dunedin School of Art, Philip went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts, gaining the top endorsement of Distinction. He also won both the undergraduate and postgraduate drawing prizes presented by the School. In addition, Philip holds a Graduate Diploma in Fine Arts from Massey University, and a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in History, from the University of Otago.
Philip has received recognition in Art New Zealand magazine (Issue 148), many favourable reviews, repeated attention in major art prizes – including thrice shortlisted for the Parkin Drawing Award (including 2015) and as a four times Wallace Award finalist (and I see a major win in the near future). He has a solid exhibition background over a relatively short career, including solo shows and regular invitations to group shows.
Mint Gallery currently holds Philip Madill’s work in stock, including both paintings featured in this post. We will be hosting another solo exhibition of Philip’s paintings in the future. Head over to our website to see more about Philip’s last exhibition with us or read the Otago Daily Times review here.