Reviews, News and Commentary

Philippa Blair’s paintings dance between order and chaos

Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples

Philippa Blair Salsa/Salseros

Philippa Blair

A Diary of Events


Until July 7

Reviewed by John Daly-Peoples

“ In the Beginning how the Heavens and Earth
Rose out of Chaos

John Milton, “Paradise Lost”

Philippa Blair latest exhibition at Orexart “A Diary of Events” evokes many of the notions that Milton touched on in his depiction of the creation of the world, the  idea of life  surrounded by or emerging from unrest and disorder.

At the heart of her work is the uncertainty and contradictions between chaos and order. This contrast can be seen in both the ideas which pervade the work as well as the physical making and arrangement of the paintings themselves. Even the fact that that all the works are diptychs speaks of a duality which exists between the physical and the  spiritual, between the random and the deliberate.

The works in the exhibition can be read in a variety of ways – as  images relating to events in her personal life, those of the wider world or of abstract conceits.

Philippa Blair, Weather Report

“Weather Report” ($12,000) with its aerial view of  a cloud covered landscape with the  coloured lines of air fronts, isobars and other abstract symbols of weather mapping could  be addressing issues around the impact of  climate change and rising water levels on our lives.

“The Swan Plant and the Butterfly” ($12,000) is a meditation on  the links between the various parts of the natural world – the symbiotic  relationship between the  caterpillar feeding on the swan plant and its evolving into the butterfly. Are those the forms and colours of the plant? Are those the lines tracing out the butterfly’s flight?

The works all have an inherent  volatility and tactility, not so much the artists applying paint but rather the colours and forms erupting out of the canvas to envelop the viewer

While there is a tension between the notions of order and chaos implicit in the works there is also  the physical tension between the both the myriad colours  she uses and the various techniques she employs which sees areas of colours resisting, merging and colliding.

The worlds she creates out of colour, form and gesture are both the macrocosmic and  microcosmic views. attempts to comprehend a large-scale view of the world as well as a study of the intimate detail of the microscopic world.

There is a vibrancy to the artist’s work implied by “Salsa/Salseros” ($12,000) and the idea of the dance. Her paintings dance with colour, shape and movement  and at the microscopic level it is the dance of the atoms and at the wider view they are the dance or trajectories of the cosmos.

By johndpart

Arts reviewer for thirty years with the National Business Review

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