Benjamin Phillips is a mid-career American-Canadian sculptor based in Ottawa, Ontario. His art practice primarily focuses on portraying the human body with a style that intersects Classical form with contemporary themes relating to vulnerability, embodiment and change.
Phillips has worked to develop his own humanizing aesthetic that demonstrates a keen observer's intuition on the human condition. His figurative compositions foretell uncertain futures, frozen in moments of honest fragility that endow his compositions with a natural and arresting effect. His works arouse compassion, curiosity and reflection through their stripped-down and seemingly simple format. With any time spent with them, however, Phillips' sculptures quietly reveal layers of complexity and personal insights, like people. Trained originally in classical bronze statuary, Phillips works to subvert conventional expectations with figurative art into powerful provocations about empathy.
Raised in rural Nova Scotia, Phillips graduated from Acadia University (BA), the University of Victoria (BFA) and Arizona State University (MFA), he is a two-time winner of the international Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation artist grant for representational art. Phillips has exhibited locally and internationally in Canada and the United States, most recently showing with Udinotti Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. Notable artist residencies include the Corporation of Yaddo, Vermont Studio Center and the Ottawa School of Art.
We here in Ontario are staring down a 3rd wave with no vaccines so I'm in the studio. I'd love to hear from you so please drop me a line.
exhibition Standing Dreaming Shifting Stooping at the Shenkman Art Centre in Orleans is finally over. Thank you Ottawa School of Art for all of your support and for the use of your wonderful space and thank youze to all of you who ventured out to see the show in person or sent your kind words after visiting it online. Ottawa School of Art website.
If you are in Canada's national capital region April 3- May 16 2020, I will host my first solo exhibition in Canada since leaving Vancouver in 2008, Standing Dreaming Shifting Stooping, located at the Shenkman Art Centre in Ottawa School of Art's Orleans Campus Art Gallery. There will be a reception Sunday April 26 1-3pm. 245 Centrum Blvd. Orleans, ON (map).
If you are in Los Angeles in February 2020, please be on the lookout for The Billboard Creative's February 2020 Show across Los Angeles (map to locate billboards with further info. on the participating artists), featuring myself along with 33 other artists. The show's curator is Artadia's founder Christopher Vroom and runs for the month of February.
If you are in the vicinity of Hopkins, Minnesota please check out the 25th Arts North International 2020 group exhibition at the Hopkins Center for the Arts, (1111 Mainstreet, Hopkins, MN 55343). My drawing "Rorschach" was chosen for the exhibit and won 3rd place overall! Show runs until February 15.
I find it fascinating that Phillips has confronted or ignored current prejudices that surround figurative art. Phillips stands out as an extraordinary original and talented figure who has the capacity to break new ground rather than limiting himself to predominant academic conventions. - George Rammell, sculptor, Vancouver, BC
[Phillips'] continued curiosity about the signs of a patriarchal system, through the eyes of a man with dare I say, a 'feminist's sensibility' is intriguing. ...What a powerful metaphor for issues in society at large. - Tiki Mulvihill, sculptor, Vancouver, BC
...His works initially communicate the anguish of embodiment. After a long look, though, the bodies become caverns, imbued with all the mystery that word implies. There's some terror in losing the sense of solidity in our being. But the collapse of gender identity and physical integrity that Phillips' works describe is a generative one that creates a space in which other, unexpected things can grow.
...the subjects seem trapped between the hopeful expectations of childhood and the weight or burden of [mortality]. It is precisely this moment that Phillips is interested in placing his audiences, a metaphor for the awkward eternal entrapment of humans who, regardless of their progress on the journey of life, forever inhabit this moment. - Kevin Vaughan-Brubaker, writer, Phoenix, AZ
[Phillips' sculptures] resolutely refusing to appear "perfect" or "pretty [...] have wonderful character and depth. Sometimes beauty is in the imperfection." p.9 Bill Macomber, writer, Scottsdale, AZ
2012 Master of Fine Arts, Sculpture, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, Degree
2008 Art Institute Printmaking, Capilano College, BC, Certificate
2004 Art Institute Sculpture, Capilano College, BC, Certificate
1998 Bachelor of Fine Arts with Honors, Visual Arts, University of Victoria, BC, Degree
1995 Bachelor of Arts, Comparative Religion, Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, Degree
2014 2nd Place, Figureworks Art Prize 2014 Finalists Exhibition, International
2011 National Sculpture Society Scholarship, National, U.S.A.
2011 Susan Furini Memorial Scholarship, Tempe, AZ
2011 Tempe Artist Guild Scholarship, Tempe, AZ
2011 Nathan Cummings Graduate Summer Travel Award, ASU
2011 Magadini Award, Arizona Artist Guild, AZ
2011 Guild Award, Arizona Artist Guild, AZ
2010 National Sculpture Society Scholarship, National, U.S.A.
2010 The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, International
2009 National Sculpture Society Scholarship, National, U.S.A.
2009 Herberger Institute of Design and the Arts Special Talent Scholarship, ASU
2008 The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant, International
2007 The Shirley Eastcott Memorial Scholarship, Capilano College, North Vancouver, BC
2004 The Sheila Hugh Mackay Foundation Grant, National, Canada
1998 The Helen Pitt Bursary for the Fine Arts, University of Victoria, BC
2020 “Standing Dreaming Shifting Stooping”, Shenkman Art Centre OSA Gallery, Ottawa, ON
2013 “Benjamin Phillips: the Ancestor Series”, Udinotti Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2012 “Without a Guide: II”, Phoenix Ice House, Phoenix, AZ
2012 “Without a Guide: MFA Thesis Exhibition”, Harry Wood Gallery, Tempe, AZ
2011 “Twilight”, The Night Gallery, Tempe, AZ
2011 “Reflection Pool”, Eye Lounge Artist Run Center, Phoenix, AZ
2011 “...Boys Are Weird” Eye Lounge Artist Run Center’s Project Room, Phoenix, AZ
2007 “Chthonian Dialogue”, Access Artist Run Centre’s Project Room, Vancouver, BC
2007 “Discomfort Zones”, Capilano College Studio Arts Gallery, North Vancouver, BC
2005 “Dry Run”, Capilano College Studio Arts Gallery, North Vancouver, BC
2001 “(f)art”, The Lee Building, Vancouver, BC
1999 “Current Works”, Rogue Art Gallery, Victoria, BC
1998 "Duh Duh", Vertical Gallery, of Open Space Artist Run Centre, Victoria, BC
2021 "Identity" Art Fluent Online Gallery Exhibitition.
2020 "CoviDreams: Dreams Into Being" zine and online platform event. (Postponed due to Covid-19)
2020 "The 25th Arts North International Juried Art Exhibition", Hopkins, MN, (3rd Place) International
2018 "Figureworks Art Prize 9th Annual Finalists Exhibition", Ottawa, ON International
2018 “Brain & Mental Health Art Show ‘18”, Horticulture Bldg., Lansdowne Park, Ottawa, ON
2017 “From the Museum’s Permanent Collection”, Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art, Paradise Valley, AZ
2014 "Figureworks Art Prize, 5th Annual Finalists Exhibition", Ottawa, ON (2nd Place), International
2014 “Body Language”, Orange County Center for Contemporary Art, Santa Ana, CA, National
2014 “Honestly, ” Bragg’s Pie Factory, Phoenix, AZ
2014 “Downtown Chamber Series” Ice House, Phoenix, AZ
2014 “Positive Negative 29: Pages”, Slocumb Galleries, E. Tennessee State, University, Johnson City, TN, National
2013 Udinotti Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2012 Udinotti Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2011 “Downtown Chamber Series” Phoenix Ice House, Phoenix, AZ
2011 "2011 Arizona Biennial", Tucson Museum of Art, Tucson, AZ
2011 "2011 Arizona Artist Guild Scholarship Winners Exhibition", Willo North Gallery, Phoenix, AZ
2011 "20”x20”x20: A National Compact Competition", Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, National
2011 “Members Only”, Eye Lounge Artist Run Center, Phoenix, AZ
2011 “Origins”, the Institute for Humanities Research, ASU, Tempe, AZ
2011 “Downtown Chamber Series” Phoenix Ice House, Phoenix, AZ
2010 “You Look Fabulous” Runway Show and Wearable Art Exhibition, Night Gallery, Tempe, AZ
2010 “MFA Summer Exhibition”, guest curator Kim Larkin, Harry Wood Gallery, Tempe, AZ
2010 "2010 Art Detour", Westwind Studios, Phoenix, AZ
2009 “Fire In the Night”, The Night Gallery, Tempe, AZ
2009 “Imagined Geographies”, Bragg’s Pie Factory, Phoenix, AZ
2009 “The Book Expanded”, Step Gallery, Tempe, AZ
2008 “Sculpture Problems”, Harry Wood Annex Gallery, Tempe, AZ
2008 “Steam Punk”, First Studio, Phoenix, AZ
2008 “Flirting with Disaster”, Bragg’s Pie Factory, Phoenix, AZ
2008 Elliot Louis Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2006 “Beyond Borders”, UWW, Bellingham, WA, International
2005 “Sex Art Vote Yes”, Sex Party of BC Campaign Event, Vancouver, BC
2001 International Digital Art Competition & Exhibition, Beecher Center for Technology in the Arts, Youngstown, OH
2001 “Propaganda II, Addicted" Gorilla Gallery, Vancouver, BC
2000 “Quick Draw” Invitational, Open Space Gallery, Victoria, BC
SELECTED ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
2015 Ottawa School of Art, Ottawa, ON
2013 The Corporation of Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY
2012 Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT
Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art, Paradise Valley, AZ
numerous private collections in the United States
INVITATIONAL TALKS & WORKSHOPS
2014 Artist Lecture, Phoenix College, Phoenix, AZ
2013 Artist Workshop and Lecture, Udinotti Museum of Figurative Art, Paradise Valley, AZ
2012 Artist Workshop and Lecture, Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale, AZ
2012 Invited Artist Lecture, Tempe Artist Guild, Tempe, AZ
2011 Invited Artist Lecture for Spirit of the Senses Salon Series, Tempe, AZ
2010 Invited Artist Lecture for the B.F.A. Sculpture Seminar, A.S.U. Tempe, AZ
2009 Chair Student Panel, 2009 National Cast-Iron Art Conference, Birmingham, AL
2006 Invited Artist Talk, Capilano College, North Vancouver