Phil WhitingArtist, Curator, Researcher
Concepts: Painting the land is the best way I know of evoking half forgotten memories or truths. I have long been drawn to places of trauma, be it abandoned post industrial sites,or war zones. My feelings about the physical reality of what is left moves me to paint. I am in a sense a history painter. Quotes: "His work engages with landscape as both a physical place as well as a psychological space.... These works excavate ideas of history and geography, place and time", Phil Nichol, Bayart, 2008. "Phil Whiting is a painter. His vigorous use of materials- acrylics (in thick striated impasto) inks, charcoal (ground and smeared) applied with brush, knife and 'whatever'- recalls a terrain smarting from the brute force of man's misuse of it. This is not the celebrated picturesque Cornwall we so often see but its dirty, rain-soaked underbelly, a landscape left bereft by voracious mining and haphazard industrial development. Work from Bosnia (his exhibition 'Srebrenica' transfers from the European Parliament Building to the Royal Cornwall Museum in the Spring) is also included - landscapes whose brutal past is etched into their future reminding us of the horrors mankind is capable of creating for itself", Pip Palmer, Galleries magazine, Jan. 2007. "Predominately black and white, they're built up with thin layers of watery paint that Whiting has splashed, dripped and poured onto the paper using expressive, gestural marks verging on abstraction. Up close, these large paintings are a confusing jumble, as if looking through a mud-spattered window. It's only when you step back, viewing from a distance, that their full power is appreciated. One of the most arresting is 'The Place of Sorrow'. Though the location is not disclosed, its sweeping panoramic view and dramatic sky is incredibly striking. 'Destroyed Muslim Houses Near Srebrenica' is another powerful, psychologically charged work contrasting sharply with the images of Cornwall such as 'Tin Mine Wasteland' or the painting of St Stythians church, its tower just visible in the distance through the drips of paint. Hard-hitting and thought-provoking, this exhibition leaves a lasting impression", David Trigg, Metro, August 2008. "Those he has made of Cornwall's deserted and derelict tin and copper mines are superb". 'Paintings by Phil Whiting', Frank Ruhrmund, St Ives Times & Echoe, 2008. "Phil Whiting has an international reputation for his work based not just on the excellence of its production but also on the uncanny way in which from simple elements of a scene he teases out deeper, darker, emotions that connect with our memories of familiar places and not so familiar events, to render them indelible", Dr Tony Piper, Stuart House Museum, 2009. Influences: Very early on American Abstract Expressionism was important to him. This was enriched by his discovery of David Bomberg and Frank Auerbach (around 1971) and Paul Nash. In the early 80's he also found affinity with German Neo-Expressionism. He reads Modern History avidly and believes that his generation can provide that essential bridge of knowledge/experience between World War 1 and the uncertainties of today. Career path: Born London 1948. Some earliest memories were of bomb sites seen from push chair. Grew up in Hull. On a school trip to Europe in 1962 experienced at several locations what can only be described as intense past-life experiences which brought on severe migraines. Studied Art at Newcastle, Portsmouth and Falmouth Colleges of Art, Hitch hiked across Europe to former Yugoslavia in 1968 showing solidarity with 'Student Movement' and 'Prague Spring' ("probably my one real achievement whilst a student at Portsmouth College of Art"). Worked in a Psychiatric Hospital near Leicester 1973-74. Met survivors from the 'Great Sleeping Sickness Epidemic'. Lived in Norfolk. Inspired by the areas' haunting landscape but yet to find a suitable language. Best reviews, perhaps, by Michael Chapman in 'Art Review' July 1976 and by Caroline English in 'The Kings Lynn News and Advertiser' June 1978. Destroyed all previous work not purchased for collections 1978. Met Human Rights group working in Palestine. Felt deeply ashamed by Western hypocrisy. Received a supportive letter from Naom Chomsky. Travelled the length of the former Yugoslavia just after Tito died Spring 1980."People extremely apprehensive about the future." Treked in SW Crete following Allies evacuation route of1941 to Paleokhora.Travelled around America visiting 19 States and crossing into Mexico, surviving a hostage incident with illegal Mexican immigrant-1981. Deeply impressed by the absence of any real sense of excavated memory or history especially in the deserts of the S.W. Returned to England determined to become a history painter. Moved to London. In 1985 a girl friend and her 6 year old twin boys were callously gunned down. This traumatic experience made him well qualified to explore such areas as the aftermath and pity of conflict and war - issues that now inform much of his work. Moved to Cornwall in 1989 and embarked on a series of paintings inspired by Cornwalls post-industrial past. Work praised by David Lee in 'Art Review' Nov.1994. In 1995 whilst Co-director of painting school in S.W. France visited Oradour-sur-Glane with students. So moved with what he saw made plans for major project to visit sites of C20th/21st trauma throughout Europe and the Middle East (later to include New York). Project came to be known as 'Places of Mourning in the Western World'. 1996 elected a member of the Newlyn Society of Artists, becoming acting chairman 2006. 2004 oil painting 'Flanders Field' chosen as favourite by visiting Arts Minister Estelle Morris (exhibition 'Critics Choice' at Newlyn Gallery). Exhibition recommended in 'The Times' by Rachel Campbell-Johnston. Invited to accompany n.g.o. 'The Fund for Refugees in Slovenia' to Bosnia to bear witness as a war artist 2005. Under the noses of Serbian Police sneaked into the derelict U.N. compound at Potocari to make drawings. This culminated in his solo exhibition 'Srebrenica.Paintings from the Grave' held in the European Parliament Building, Brussels 2006. Since then he has been invited to give talks and exhibit his work at many institutions including Truro Cathedral and Oxford University, and has been commissioned by organisations such as The Guardian and Amnesty International. Lives with his wife on their small farm overlooking the Cober Valley in West Cornwall and paints full-time. Further quotes: "I personally found them most moving", Peter Hill, Editor 'Daily Express.' "Haunting paintings", Lee Trewhela, Editor Arts and Leisure,West Briton Newspapers. "A brave gesture to capture some of these images of haunted places fixed in the psyche of man. Great stuff", Ken Turner, artist. "Here, I feel, is an artist who takes as a start important historical subjects and events and transmutes and transforms them, in his personal way, into poetical and magnificent paintings", Roman Halter, artist and Holocaust survivor. "Sombre but necessary paintings - testimony of an immutable recent history", Professor Paul Gough,UWE,Bristol. read full statement
Qualifications and training :
2002 - PGDip Fine Art, University College Falmouth, Cornwall 1974 - ATD and Cert.Ed., Leicester Polytechnic and Leicester University, Leicester 1969 - Dip.A.D. Fine Art, Portsmouth College of Art, Portsmouth 1966 - Pre dip. Fine Art, Newcastle College of Art, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Solo exhibitions :
2013 - The Cornwall Paintings and Places of Mourning in the Western World, Sir Terry Frost Gallery and the John Moore Theatre Gallery, King's School, Worcester. 2012 - Landscape and Memory, Belgrave Gallery, St Ives . 2012 - 'Places of Mourning in the Western World', Truro Cathedral, Truro. 2009 - Land, Memory and the Anxiety of Erasure, Stuart House Museum, Liskeard. 2009 - Remembrance - Places of Mourning in the Western World (see Bridgeman Art Library), New College Antechapel, University of Oxford. 2008 - Cornwall in Winter, Rainyday Gallery, Penzance. 2008 - Phil Whiting The Anxiety of Erasure, The Bayart Gallery, Cardiff. 2008 - Srebrenica, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro. 2008 - Srebrenica and Remembrance, Truro Cathedral, Truro. 2007 - Land and Memory. Paintings by Phil Whiting, Rainyday Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall. 2006 - Srebrenica, Paintings from the Grave., European Parliament Building, Brussels, The Yehudi Menuhin Space. 2005 - Phil Whiting Cornwall Paintings, Campden Gallery (Nov), Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire. 2005 - Places of Darkness and Light, Rainyday Gallery, Penzance. 2004 - Works on Paper, Penzance Arts Club, Penzance. 2003 - Landscape, Seascape and Memory, Counthouse Workshop, National Trust Gallery, Botallack, Cornwall 2000 - Recent Works, Tony Sanders Fine Art, Penzance. 1999 - The Last Ten Years, The Counthouse Workshop National Trust Gallery, Botallack, Cornwall.
Selected Group exhibitions :
2007-14 permanent gallery artist group shows, Belgrave Gallery St Ives @ London. 2013 - Glasbury Arts Festival 10th Anniversary Visual Art Exhibition, Cyfarthfa Castle Museum and Art Gallery, Merthyr Tydfil, (invited artist). 2013 - St Ives - Cameret Twinning Exhibition, Cameret, France. 2011- Truro School Art Collection Exhibition, The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro. 2010 - 'Echoes and Traces - exhibition', Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton. 2009 - 'Out of Cornwall', The Royal West of England Acadamy Galleries, Bristol. 2008 - Paintings by Phil Whiting and Introducing Oliver Whiting, The Rainyday Gallery, Penzance. 2007 - Art Now Cornwall, Goldfish Contemporary Fine Art, Penzance, Cornwall. 2007 - St Ives 1975-2005 Art Colony in Transition' Book Launch Exhibition of Selected Artists., Belgrave Gallery, St Ives. 2006 - Unquiet Earth, St Ives Society of Artists Gallery, Norway Square, St Ives, Cornwall. 2006 - "Industrial Cornwall", The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro. 2006 - Critic's Choice - selected by Nicholas Usherwood, The Campden Gallery. 2005/6. NSA Selected Exhibition, Goldfish Contemporary Fine Art, Penzance, Cornwall 2005 - Critics Choice - Selected by Professor Norbert Lynton, Lemon Street Gallery, Truro 2005 - NSA Selected Exhibition, Thompsons City Gallery, Central London 2004 - Critics Choice - John Russell Taylor, Newlyn Gallery, Penzance 2004 - Summer Exhibition, Campden Gallery, Chipping Campden 2004 - Voicing Dissent, Falmouth Arts Centre, Falmouth 2003 - Critics Choice - Joan Bakewell, Newlyn Gallery, Newlyn, reviewed in The Guardian newspaper 2003 - Two Landscape Painters, The Rainyday Gallery, Penzance 2002 - Chiaroscurio, Vallico Sotto, Lucca, Tuscany 2002 - Two Painters explore Western Approaches, Cable and Wireless Museum, Porthcurno, Cornwall 2002 - Weather Forecast Land/Sea and Light, Newlyn Gallery, Newlyn 1999 - Critics Choice - William Packer, Newlyn Gallery, Newlyn 1999 - In the path of the shadow, Geevor Mine, Pendeen 1998 - N.S.A., The Royal West of England Academy Galleries, Bristol 1997 - Critics Choice - David Lee, Newlyn Gallery, Newlyn 1994 - In a different light, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, reviewed on Kaleidoscope, Radio 4 1994 - Responces to Landscape, Beatrice Royal Gallery, Eastleigh 1993 - Places of Earth and Water, Rainy Day Gallery, Penzance, Cornwall.
Curated projects :
2011 - Amnesty International 50th Anniversary Cornwall Schools Art Exhibition.Targeting Year 10 pupils many from disadvantaged communities., Truro Cathedral, Truro 2007 - Unquiet Earth, St Ives Society of Artist's Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall 2003 - Invitations (with artist Sue Boafo), Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn, Cornwall.
Srebrenica a Cry from the Grave. Music and images John Guy Storer, Phil Whiting. Produced by Engineers of the Imagination. You Tube, 2011.
Artist's talks :
2013 - Places of Mourning in the Western World, King's School Assembly, Worcester 2013 - Places of Mourning in the Western World, The Sir Terry Frost Gallery, The King's School, Worcester 2012 - Landscape and Memory, Belgrave St Ives Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall 2012 - Places of Mourning in the Western World , Truro Cathedral, Truro, Cornwall 2011 - "Places of Mourning in the Western World", Amnesty International South West, Redruth School, Penrice Community College, Penwith School, Humphrey Davy School, Richard Lander School, Tretheras School, Penair School. 2011 - Amnesty International 50th Anniversary Cornwall Schools Art Exhibition Address, Truro Cathedral, Truro 2010 - Dvd and talk "Places of Mourning in the Western World", Kings School, Worcester., Phil Whiting's studio, Cornwall 2010 - Gateways to the Heart of Darkness, Monmouth School, Monmouth, Wales 2009 - Conversations on Land, Memory and the Anxiety of Erasure, Stuart House Museum, Liskeard 2009 - Places of Mourning in the Western World. , The Contemporary Art Society For Wales., Cardiff University. 2008 - A Leap of Imagination, The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro 2008 - Srebrenica-a Reading., Truro Cathdral, Truro 2008 - The Anxiety of Erasure., The Bayart Gallery, Cardiff 2006 - The Importance of Srebrenica, The European Parliament, Brussels, The Yehudi Menuhin Space 2002 - 'Weather Forecast', Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn, Cornwall.
2013 - Places of Mourning in the Western World, The King's School, Worcester 2012 - Srebrenica Revisited, The Fund for Refugees in Slovenia, Srebrenica, Bosnia 2009 - 'Remembrance, Places of Mourning in the Western World' exhibition., New College, The University of Oxford, Oxford 2006 - 'Srebrenica Paintings from the Grave' exhibition., The European Parliament, Brussels 2005 - To bear witness as a war artist, The Fund for Refugees in Slovenia, Srebrenica, Bosnia 2003 - 'Landscape.Seascape and Memory' exhibition., The Counthouse Workshop National Trust Gallery., Botallack, Cornwall.
2006 - Painting 'Par Docks, Cornwall.', The collection of the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rt Hon George Osborne MP, London. 2006 - Painting 'Sorrow'., The Collection of Neil Parish MP., Somerset. 2005 - Large drawing 'Crows on Snow at Geevor', The collection of Minister of State for The Foreigm Office Rt Hon. Hugo Swire M.P.
2009 - Painting 'A Minions Elegy'. The collection of The Stuart House Museum. , Stuart House Museum, Liskeard, Cornwall. 2008 - Painting 'The Place of the Missing no.2' The collection of the Royal Cornwall Museum. , The Royal Cornwall Museum,, Truro 2006 - Exhibition: Srebrenica. Paintings from the Grave, The Office Of South West MEP Neil Parish, The Yehudi Menuhin Space, The European Parliament Building, Brussels 1994 - Painting 'Geevor Tin Mine 2'. The Collection of The Royal Cornwall Museum, The Royal Cornwall Museum,, Truro Corporate commissions 2009 - Painting 'Watch Tower'., The Collection of New College, University of Oxford (see Bridgeman Art Library) ., Oxford 2009 - 'Shoah' (Large painting) The Collection of Haberdashers Monmouth School , Haberdashers Monmouth School for Boys , The chapel vestry wall. 2008 - The Painting 'Place of the Missing no.1' The collection of Truro Cathedral, Truro Cathedral., Truro 2007 - Painting 'Sithney Church. Late October' The collection of Haberdashers Monmouth School, Haberdashers Monmouth School for Boys, Monmouth, Wales 2006 - 'The Womans Block', The Guardian, The Saturday Guardian main section. 2005 - Further corporate purchases include 2 paintings purchased by Thompson's Galleries Ltd London, and 1 painting purchased through auction by the Belgrave Gallery St Ives in 2013, Thompson's City Gallery and Belgrave Gallery, London and St Ives 2005 - Painting "Grade Church from Goonhilly Downs" The collection of Truro School., Truro School, Truro 2005 - To Bear Witness as a War Artist, The Fund for Refugees in Slovenia, Bosnia 2001 - 'Wheal Jane'., English Heritage, Book 'Images of Cornish Tin'
2011 - 'Srebrenica.A Cry From the Grave.' Music for classical guitar composed and performed by John Guy Storer.Artwork 'The Trail of Tears' by Phil Whiting. , Produced and engineered by EOI.www.engineersofimagination.com, Compact Disc. 2011 - website for n.g.o. Funds for Refugees in Slovenia (see survivors of srebrenica.org). 2011 - 'The Harrowing of Hell'.Music composed by Russell Pascoe and performed by 'Confitemini'. Inspired by Phil Whiting's paintings., Truro Cathedral., Truro. (Available on CD.)
Competitions, prizes and awards :
1981 - Financial Award to help fund practice., Arts Council EAA.
2014 - 'Words Aive Festival Inaugural Art Competition' Judge. King's School, Worcester. 2012 - The 20/21 International Art Fair, Royal College of Art, London 2010 - Guest Artist, Glasbury Arts Festival, Glasbury, Powys 2010 - 'Light a Candle for Hope'. Holocaust Memorial Day., Truro Cathedral, Cornwall 2009 - Formal presentation of painting 'Watch Tower' to New College, University of Oxford. Received on behalf of the College by Templeton Prize winner Michael Bourdeaux , New College, Oxford 2008 - Invited to read the Third Lesson of Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Truro Cathedral, Truro 2007 - Auction of Painting 'Winter Afternoon, Penwith', 'Babes Big Barn Dance- In Aid of Childrens Hospice South West'.Painting sold for £22000.0 - £2200.0 going to the artist., Royal Hospital Gardens, Chelsea. 2005 - Invited to select, along side former war artist Ken Howard R.A., the 'September Festival Open Exhibition', St Ives Society's Gallery, Norway Square, St.Ives 1976 - Sacred Interior (painting in wax mix), Collection Wighton Church, Wighton, Norfolk.
Book : The Lost Boys, Victoria Field, Waterloo Press, 2013. A Whiting Double. Cornwall Today magazine, 2012 - Book: Who's Who in Art 35th edition, Morven Press 2012 - Bosnian War inspires exhibition, Western Morning News 2012. Landscape and Memory Exhibition Catalogue with foreword by Peter Davies, Belgrave Gallery St Ives. 2012 - Landscape and Memory:'haunting, brooding and sublime' at Belgrave St Ives. Frank Ruhrmund, The St Ives Times & Echo. 2012 - 'Places of Mourning in the Western World' exhibition.Truro Cathedral News. 2012 - Political painter who keeps alive the memory of the horrors of war. The Cornishman, March 1st 2012. 2012 - 'Srebrenica (after a painting by Phil Whiting).' Poem by Victoria Field, Orbis Quarterly International Literary Journal. 2012 - Phil Whiting and His Work , sermon by Cannon Philip Lambert, Truro Cathedral. 2012- Srebrenica Revisited, TheWestern Morning News. 2012 - Srebrenica Revisited. Truro Cathedral News Letter. 2011 - Amnesty International 50th Commemoration Cornwall Schools Art Exhibition Programme. Truro Cathedral. 2011 - BOOK:'Echoes and Traces', by Geoffrey Bertram. 2011 - 'Students Inspired By Professional Artist' - The West Briton 2010 - BOOK: 'Called by Mind and Spirit;Crossing the Borderlands of Childhood' - by Gavin Knight and Joanna Knight. 2010 - Mental Health Hospital Chaplains' news letter (using the painting 'Shoah' as the "pivotal focus between mental health and spiritual development". Gavin and Jo Knight). 2009 - 'A Minions Elegy' painting featured in Western Morning News 2009 - 'A Minions Elegy' reproduced in the Gonamena Souvenir Programme.Sterts Theatre. 2009 - 'Deeper Meanings.' Artists&Illustrators magazine. 2009 - 'Father and Son Reunion at the Rainyday' by Frank Ruhrmund,The Cornishman. 2009 - 'Remembrance'. An article with images written by Phil Whiting and published in the Truro Cathedral Newsletter. 2009 - Truro Cathedral Annual Review 2008 2008 - Artist's Work Reflects Man's Inhumanity to Man.' Simon Parker-The Western Morning News. 2008 - Cornwall Heartlands Project Brochure (front cover) 2008 - 'Cornwall in Winter.' Frank Ruhrmund- The St Ives Times & Echo. 2008 - Phil Whiting Srebrenica Exhibition at the RCM by Peter Davies. Axis Dialogue (March). 2008 - 'Philip Whiting at Bayart.' Buzz Magazine. 2008 - 'Srebrenica. An Exhibition of War Paintings by Phil Whiting.' Cannon Philip Lambert. 2008 - Trigg's review of Whiting show in Metro : 4 stars 2007 - 'Artist Phil Whiting Recalls a Year.' Cornwall Today Magazine. 2007 - BOOK:'Oil Paintings in Public Collections.' 2007 - BOOK:'St Ives 1975-2005 Art Colony in Transition.' By Peter Davies. 2007 - 'Cook and Whiting.' Pip Palmer-Galleries Magazine. 2007 - Phil Whiting Recent Paintings. 'Cornwall Life Magazine'. 2006 - Srebrenica.Paintings from the Grave Catalogue.Forewords Prof.Paul Gough,Roman Halter,Hugo Swire MP 2006 - 'The Woman's Block.' The Guardian. 2005 - 'Bosnia Suffers in Silence.' Maurice Stevens-The Cornishman. 2002 - BOOK:'ARTSNA.' Newlyn Society of Artists. 2001 - BOOK:'Images of Cornish Tin.' Alan Stoyel & Peter Williams 2000 - 'Mining heritage inspires artist.' The West Briton. 2000 - 'Phil Paints Penwith Mines with Singular Fashion' Simon McNulty, Cornwall Arts magazine. 1999 - Paintings by Phil Whiting : The Last Ten Years by Frank Ruhrmund, The Cornishman. 1994 - "I particularly liked Phil Whiting's 'Old Engine House' " David Lee, Art Review 1976 - The Paintings of Phil Whiting, Michael Chapman, Art Review.
2013 - Miloska. A film by Rudi Uran (includes paintings from Whiting's Srebrenica series), Kramberger & Uran, Maribor,Slovenia 2013 - Showing of and TV studio discussion of the film 'Miloska', Slovenian National Television Maribor, Slovenia.(2013 Premier at Maribor University.)
2010 - Truro Cathedral Restoration. Accepted an invitation to climb up inside the scaffolding to the top of the main spire with a camera, meeting the stone masons at work. Amazing., Truro Cathedral, Truro, Cornwall. 2009 - Subscribes to 'Freedom From Torture'., Freedom From Torture., Central offices : 111 Isledon Road, London N7 7JW 2008 - Poems after the paintings by Phil Whiting by Victoria Field and others., Truro Cathedral, Truro 2008 - Srebrenica and Remembrance, BBC Radio Cornwall, Truro 2008 - Srebrenica Exhibition Interview, BBC Radio Cornwall, Artists Studio 2006 - Former acting chairman of The Newlyn Society of Artists, The Newlyn Society of Artists, The Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn, Cornwall 2006 - Former elected member of The Newlyn Art Gallery Council of Management, The Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange Gallery, Newlyn and Penzance, Cornwall 2006 - Invited to spend the day meeting science staff and visiting backrooms/labs etc to make drawings, The National Natural History Museum, Brussels 2006 - Srebrenica Paintings from the Grave exhibition interview, European Parliament Radio Links/BBC Radio Cornwall, The Yehudi Menuhin Space, European Parliament Building, Brussels
|Location||Oxford, South East|
|Activities||Lecturing, Practice-based research, Participatory projects, Private commissions, Curating|
|Artforms||Curatorial project, Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Research|
|Tags||painter, human rights, memory, landscape, recent history, conflict, mourning, post industrial landscape, empathy, poetic imagination|
News & Events
Opening the Gates of Hell
Carrying out research for the Memorial Exhibition commemorating the centenary of the beginning of World War 1 to be held in Truro Cathedral in August 2014. read more
Who are these Children?
Working on a series of paintings in memory of the lost children of the post conflict war zones I have visited and by recent disclosures in the North Wales Care Homes scandal. read more
Opening the Gates of Hell
01/08/2014 – 16/08/2014
Invited to curate a memorial exhibition to commemorate the centenary of the beginning of World War 1. read more