Approved: 16.08.2006

Phil Toy

Artist, Researcher

Approved: 16.08.2006

I am currentluy working on a museologocal display based on documents from 18th century Georgian England for Bath Fringe Exhibition, 'Out of the Archive'. 

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  • Location: Bristol, South West
  • Activities: Practice-based research, Training delivery, Private commissions, Events management, Fundraising
  • Categories: Film & Video, Installation, Painting, Photography, Sculpture
  • Tags: Spike Island, MA Stars, Southwest UK


I am currentluy working on a museologocal display based on documents from 18th century Georgian England for Bath Fringe Exhibition, 'Out of the Archive'. 

Concepts, ideas, themes:

The background to my work is an interest in the relationship between beliefs and science, rationality/irrationality, the juxtaposition of order/disorder. How we categorise our world. Fundamentally, it is what we believe that creates our identity. What we believe may not be true. We inherit ‘truths’ some of which are fictions. I see all categories as artificial constructs designed to organise all life forms and everything else. They give definition and order which may not be true but which may be preferable to existential madness.

Categorisation, fragmentation against an interplay between 2 and 3 dimensions are key concepts. We each have to negotiate our own sense of being created by categories (structure) and a fragmented world of endless networks and gaps.

My practice creates what I call, 'displacements'. I use the word. 'punctuations' also in this context. A number of narratives may be suggested in the mind of the viewer by these works.

Previously, I have researched the work of John Cage and his use of chance in composing, (see Chance Glass, 2011). Schoenberg has been a strong influence. This interest in music has presented in my work as musical scores, composed by me, exhibited as part of painting and/or with three-demensional elements.

Processes and techniques: I attempt to use methods and materials in relation to my purpose, theme or the site-relatedness of the project. I have experience of a very wide range of materials being familiar with acrylic and oil paint, resins, waxes, plasters, canvas and fabrics in addition to lighting, film and photography. I have also used perspex vitrines as a means of displaying work. My work is research-based, finding its direction from experimentation.

CV & Education

Qualifications and training:

2005 - MA, University of West of England, Bristol 1982 - BA Fine Art, Polytechnic (UWE), Bristol

Group Exhibitions:

May 2016 - Upcoming, Scratching the Veneer, Edwardian Cloakrooms, Bristol, 16-22 Nov.2016Fringe Art Bath, 2 group exhibitions, Austerity & Out of the Archive, 27 May to June 12 2016; Slider - Group exhibtion of slides celebrating Artspace 40 - 29 April to 29 June 2016; Pop up Cinema, (showing 2 short films) Spike Island, 29 April to 03 May 2016.


Solo exhibitions:  2016 - Open Studio:  2015 - Open Studio, Spike Island, Bristol: Solo Open Studio, Spacex Studios, Exeter, 2013; Live/Performance 2011 - On Silence: Homage to John Cage, Concorde Institute, London 2011; ABLE, Sangdee Gallery, Cheung Mai Thailand 2011; SideBySide, Bath Arts Studio Gallery, Bath, 2009; 3 Interventions, Spike Island Open Studios: 2008 - Roubles and Camels, Galerie Weisser Elefan, 21 Augustrasse, Mitte, Berlin 2007; ArtAffair, Sept 2005 - Things Beginning with 'B'; Hotbath gallery, Bath, 2006; Faust Kunsthalle, Hanover, Germany 2005 - Roadside Picnic, August 2005, Ihme Centrum, public art event, Hanover; 2004 - Jan-Apr, 'Bad Quality', Travelling exhibition, Millais Gallery, Southampton, UK 2004; Oct- Nov, 'Love, Warmth & Waterlillies', Mile End Arts Pavilion, London UK 2003; Dec. 'Awning', multiples show, Awning, Bristol 2003; Nov-Dec. 'Pulped', Thelma Hubert Gallery, Honiton UK 2004; 2002 - Cathedrals & Chemicals, Falmouth Art College, Falmouth, UK 2002 - Falmouth College of Arts 2002; 'False impressions?', University of Colchester, Colchester 2002; Stepping Stones, Mafuji Gallery, London 2001 ; Block 16, Hanover, Germany 2001 - 'Evolution'; Standpoint Gallery, London 2001; Gene Pool, Block 16 Gallery, Hanover Germany 2001; Standpoint Gallery, London 2000; Axiom Gallery, Cheltenham 2000 - 'State of the Art', Axion Centre for the Arts, Cheltenham, UK 1999; 'Aswas', Sherborne School, Sherborne, UK 2002 - Holt Gallery, Sherborne School, Dorset 1999 - 'Love, Religion & Explosives', Church Gallery, Norwich UK 1999 - Love, religion and explosives, St Margaret's, Norwich 1998 - Bag, Bristol 1997 - Rathaushalle, Hannover, Germany 1996 - Spitalfields Festival, London 1995 - Rising Tides, Bristol 1994 - De Villa Gallery, Netherlands 1994 - Ernst and Young;1997 - Residency, Offices of BH, Tuzla, Bosnia 1994 - Residency exchange, De Villa Gallery, Enchede, Netherlands Projects 2011 - Evolve, Thane Works, London 2006 - Virtual Spaces of Migration, Sept 2007, Bristol Hannover Posnan 2005 - Picnic am wegesrand, kunstsymposium, Ihme zentrum, Hannover.

Worked with Axis as MA Stars Selector: 2007-2010.

Competitions, prizes and awards: 2016 - Grant award Spike Island, Slider exhibition; 2006 - Research & professional development award, Arts Council of England, UK & Berlin; 2001 - International Film and Video festival award, Canada, Campbell River 2001 - Travel/Research award, South West Arts, England, Bristol 1997 - Bristol City & Kulturampt, Hanover exhibition award, City councils, Bristol/Hanover 1997 - Travel and exhibtion award, British Council & London office of Bosnia-Herzogovina, London/Tuzla.