Phil Irish – Friday Night Guest – April 5, 2024

Phil Irish – Friday Night Guest – April 5, 2024

(Submitted by Christine Luna)

Phil Irish, an artist from Elora, Ontario, holds degrees from York (MFA) and Guelph (BA). His time as a visual artist on the Canada C3 icebreaker is shaping new directions in his work. His contemporary art pushes oil painting beyond its classic frame, exploring collage, lens-based projects, and massive collage installations.

DVAC members had the pleasure of listening to Phil’s stories of his adventures on his June 2023 trip to Svalbard in the Arctic Archipelago.  He was onboard the ship Antigua for a two week Arctic Circle Residency along with 29 artists of various disciplines (music, visual art, architecture, performance).  He delighted us with some of the adventures onboard such as the challenges with the weather.  On the first day of stormy, rainy weather with fierce winds he incorporated raindrops into his paintings, imparting his positive outlook to “Work with the elements”.  His advice is to be authentic, and quoting Martha Graham, “You have to keep open and aware to the urges that motivate you.  Keep the channels open”.

Phil did a short demonstration drawing a caribou on Yupo paper, taking references from his many images of animals (belugas, arctic fox, polar bears, etc.) in his binder. He used Yupo paper due to it being durable (to rain, weather), portable, no need to prime, and smooth to cut.  His plastic travel kit contains solvent free oil paints (he favors Windsor Newton Griffin Alkyd paints), a solvent free fast drying medium (Gamblin) fluid, and various small brushes for easy transport. Eventually he will create large collage pieces using his paintings onto terra skins put together on wall panels.  His paintings of icebergs are often created on aluminum sheets. His work can be seen at the Lonsdale Gallery in Toronto.

We thank Phil for his truly unique and refreshing approach to creating art.  As he said, he is “Out in the Wonder”.