Phibs “Perfectly Imperfect” @ Backwoods Gallery
The last show on this epic list of openings from last weekend is from Sydney/Melbourne/Everfresher Phibs at Backwoods Gallery in Collingwood. It’s been a long journey, but we’re finally here and I’ve saved the best ’til last. Opening a show in conjunction with one from Beastman is no easy feat to pull off and thats going both ways, but both artists have done it with two shows that stand up amongst themselves.
So lets start by getting that big elephant in the room, there’s a small group of people out there who believe that Phibs and Beastman are ripping off each others styles, the fun those people would have had when first hearing the announcement of this show. If you want my opinion on the matter, yes there is similarity in each of their styles, but I wouldn’t call them similar enough to warrant a worthy argument into the matter. Big bold lines, twisting and turning in and around, what can only be described as, spiritual characters with Phibs referencing a more natural/earthy forms. But there’s more to these life forms then bold sharp lines, there’s a liveliness to them, each come with a smile, smirk or a sense controlled zen within them and, as you can tell, bursting with colour. I’ve always felt that his work has been reminiscent of ancient Mayans many years ago, both visually and personally, all these characters are set in a certain time, part of their own stories.
Walking into this show you will find a stack of piece in a quality you’d come to expect from one of the Everfresh Crew, not just a bunch of hand painted canvases, but a whole backrooms worth of freshly painted pieces in multiple formats. Phibs isn’t the type to just stick to one style of work, there is hand painted, sprayed and even stenciled pieces throughout this show, displaying the artists versatility and history in the scene. I think a lot of people forget Phibs’ work over the years, his hand drawn paste ups were legendary and he’s one of the few artists whose style of work transitioned and matched with stencils perfectly. The larger scale canvas’ are also a sight to behold, no outline, just layered brush strokes combined to make some very interesting creatures, both familiar and unfamiliar, each of which are individually as good as the last, these are some seriously great pieces of work. The whole feeling of the show is very different to any I’ve felt in a while, as a previously mentioned, there was an ancient aura surrounding the room like the feeling you get when standing in a museum, everything feels like it should be untouched and preserved, maybe because it’s timeless.
You can not miss this show, I can’t stress it enough, each show Phibs does is different, so get in before May 6th and see this for yourselves. This guy is such an asset to our city, in the past, present and hopefully, the future.