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. 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. 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." Trekked in SW Crete following Allies evacuation route of 1941 to Paleokhora. In 1981 travelled around America visiting 19 States and crossing into Mexico. 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 later began to inform much of his work. Moved to Cornwall in 1989 and embarked on a series of paintings inspired by Cornwalls post-industrial past. 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 to the aftermath of genocide as a war artist 2005. 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.
Recently in parallel with his 'Places of Mourning' work he has embarked on a further project titled 'Wilderness Walks : Towards the Equinox'. He calls these new paintings 'Purification Landscapes' in which his desire is to explore, experience and paint the wild places of the earth where the traces of mankind are least evident. To this purpose and recently to date he has embarked in all weathers on trekking expeditions equipped with sketchbooks to Nepal, Crete, The Arctic, the Highlands, and Wales.
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.
CV & Education
SELECTED SOLO EXHIBITIONS :
2015 - Children Beneath a Different Sky, and other paintings. Leigh Day Human Rights Law Firm, Farringdon, London.
2014 - Opening the Gates of Hell. Recent paintings with text to help commemorate the Great War Centenary and it's relationship with conflicts today.Truro Cathedral, Cornwall.
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. New College Antechapel, University of Oxford.
2009 - 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.
2003 - Landscape, Seascape and Memory, Counthouse Workshop, National Trust Gallery, Botallack, Cornwall.
1999 - The Last Ten Years, The Counthouse Workshop National Trust Gallery, Botallack, Cornwall.
SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS :
2015 - Two Painters, Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Oxford.
2007 to 2016 gallery artist's 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).
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 - 'Babes Big Barn Dance', Chelsea Hospital Gardens, London.
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 (highlighted artist).
2004 - Critics Choice John Russell Taylor, Newlyn Gallery, Penzance.
2004 - Summer Exhibition, Campden Gallery, Chipping Campden.
2004 - Voicing Dissent (against the Invasion of Iraq). Falmouth Arts Centre, Falmouth.
2003 - Critics Choice - Joan Bakewell, Newlyn Gallery, Newlyn, reviewed in The Guardian.
2003 - Two Landscape Painters, The Rainyday Gallery, Penzance.
2002 - Two Painters explore Western Approaches, Cable and Wireless Museum, Porthcurno, Cornwall.
2002 - Weather Forecast Land/Sea and Light, Newlyn Gallery.
1999 - Critics Choice - William Packer, Newlyn Gallery.
1999 - In the path of the shadow, Geevor Mine, Pendeen.
1998 - N.S.A. Choice 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.
2007 - Unquiet Earth, St Ives Society of Artist's Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall.
2003 - Invitations (with artist Sue Boafo), Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn, Cornwall.
LIVE PERFORMANCES :
Phil Whiting talks about his work at the Belgrave Gallery. Belgravestives.co.uk. You Tube, 2012.
Srebrenica a Cry from the Grave. Music and images John Guy Storer, Phil Whiting. Produced by Engineers of the Imagination. You Tube, 2011.
ARTIST TALKS :
2015 - Places of Mourning in the Western World, (in conjunction with Freedom From Torture) Iffley Academy, Oxford.
2015 - Truth, Reconciliation and Justice, Leigh Day Human Rights Law Firm, Farringdon, London.
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.
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.
2006 - 'Srebrenica Paintings from the Grave' exhibition',The European Parliament, Brussels.
2005 - To bear witness to the aftermath of genocide 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.
PRIVATE COLLECTIONS :
2006 - Painting 'Par Docks, Cornwall' (plus later purchase of two other paintings in 2012) The collection of the Chancellor of the Exchequer The Rt Hon George Osborne MP, London.
2005 - Large drawing 'Crows on Snow at Geevor' plus the purchase of two other paintings. The Collection of Minister of State for The Foreigm Office and former Shadow Culture Secretary The Rt Hon. Hugo Swire M.P.
(plus work purchased for over 200 private collections at home and abroad).
PUBLIC COLLECTIONS :
2016 - Painting 'Old Mine Workings'. The collection of the Penlee House Museum & Art Gallery.
2009 - Painting 'A Minions Elegy'. The collection of The Stuart House Museum. Cornwall.
2008 - Painting 'The Place of the Missing no.2'. The collection of the Royal Cornwall Museum.
1994 - Painting 'Geevor Tin Mine 2'. The collection of The Royal Cornwall Museum.
CORPORATE COLLECTIONS :
2009 - Painting 'Watch Tower'. The Collection of New College, University of Oxford (see Bridgeman Art Library).
2009 - Painting 'Shoah'. The collection of Haberdashers Monmouth School for Boys. The chapel vestry wall.
2008 - The Painting 'Place of the Missing no.1'. The collection of Truro Cathedral.
2007 - Painting 'Sithney Church. Late October' . The collection of Haberdashers Monmouth School for Boys, Monmouth, Wales.
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.
2005 - Painting "Grade Church from Goonhilly Downs". The collection of Truro School.
2014 - Truro Cathedral
2011 - Amnesty International
2010 - Monmouth School
2009 - The Contemporary Art Society of Wales
2009 - The Stuart House Museum
2008 - Bute Town Artists Association
2006 - The Office of Neil Parish MEP. European Parliament.
2006 - The Guardian
2005 - The Fund for Refugees in Slovenia
2000 - English Heritage
FURTHER PROJECTS :
2011 - paintings on website for n.g.o. Funds for Refugees in Slovenia (see survivors of srebrenica.org).
2008 - '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.)
1981 - Financial Award to help fund practice. Arts Council EAA.
SITE SPECIFIC :
2012 - The 20/21 International Art Fair, Royal College of Art, London.
2010 - Guest Artist, Glasbury Arts Festival, Glasbury, Powys
2010, 11, 12 etc - 'Light a Candle for Hope'. Holocaust Memorial Day. Painting 'The Place of the Missing' exhibited. Truro Cathedral, Cornwall.
2009 - Formal presentation of painting 'Watch Tower' to New College, University of Oxford.
2008 - Invited to read the Third Lesson of Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols, Truro Cathedral,
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
SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY :
2015 - Book : Oxford University Vol.1 The Colleges. Oil Paintings in Public Collections.
2015 - A Journey into the Wilds of Our Minds, Anne James, Oxford Times, 22nd Jan.
2014 - Opening the Gates of Hell Exhibition by Phil Whiting. Reviewed by Simon Parker, Western Morning News, 4th August 2014.
2014 - Phil Whiting's Opening the Gates of Hell Exhibition, West Briton, 31st July 2014.
2014 - Phil Whiting's Opening the Gates of Hell WW1 Exhibition, Truro Cathedral Newsletter, August and September 2014.
2014 - Third Light. A Play to Honour the Herodsfoot Heroes, by Simon Parker Souvenir Programme with images by Phil Whiting, Sterts Theatre, 2014.
2013 - Book : The Lost Boys, Victoria Field, Waterloo Press, 2013.
2012 - A Whiting Double. Cornwall Today magazine, Jan. 2012.
2012,14,16 - Book: Who's Who in Art, 35th,36th,37th editions, 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 Newsletter.
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, by Phil Whiting, The Western Morning News.
2012 - Srebrenica Revisited, by Phil Whiting, Truro Cathedral News Letter.
2012 - Amnesty International (UK) Section Report 2012.
2011 - Amnesty International 50th Commemoration Cornwall Schools Art Exhibition Programme. Truro Cathedral.
2011 - BOOK : Echoes and Traces', by Geoffrey Bertram, Bertram Enterprises,
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 play by Simon Parker 'Gonamena' Souvenir Programme.Sterts Theatre. Cornwall.
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 (oil painting reproduced for front cover).
2008 - 'Cornwall in Winter.' Frank Ruhrmund, The St Ives Times & Echo.
2008 - 'Philip Whiting at Bayart.' Buzz Magazine.
2008 - 'Srebrenica. An Exhibition of War Paintings by Phil Whiting.' Cannon Philip Lambert, foreword in exhibition catalogue.
2008 - Trigg's review of Whiting show in Metro : 4 stars.
2007 - 'Artist Phil Whiting Recalls a Year.' Cornwall Today Magazine, Jan.
2007 - BOOK : Cornwall and the Isle of Scilly. 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 exhibition catalogue. Forewords Prof.Paul Gough,Roman Halter,Hugo Swire MP.
2006 - 'The Woman's Block.' The Guardian, 20th Sept. 2006.
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, English Heritage.
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 - Responses to Landscape Exhibition, Beatrice Royal Gallery, David Lee, Art Review.
1976 - The Paintings of Phil Whiting, Michael Chapman, Art Review."
2013 - Miloska. A film by Rudi Uran about the extraordinary life of Lady Miloska Nott OBE (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.
QUALIFICATIONS & TRAINING:
1969 - DipAD,Portsmouth College of Art.
1974- ATD,Cert Ed, Leicester University.
FURTHER STUDY :
1987- Advanced Printmaking Course, Sir John Cass Art School, London.
2002- PGDip.(Fine Art), University College Falmouth.
2016- To research further material for 'Places of Mourning in the Western World' project completed a short course titled ''Terrorism in the Contemporary World' at Dept.For Continuing Education, Oxford University.
2016 - 52Watch, April edition : Books, Axisweb.
2008 - Srebrenica and Remembrance, BBC Radio Cornwall, Truro.
2008 - Phil Whiting's 'Srebrenica' exhibition at the RCM, Peter Davies, Dialogue, Axisweb.
2007 - Srebrenica Exhibition Interview, BBC Radio Cornwall, Artists Studio.
2006 - acting chairman of The Newlyn Society of Artists,The Newlyn Art Gallery,Cornwall.
2005 - elected member of The Newlyn Art Gallery and Exchange Gallery Council of Management.
2006 - Srebrenica Paintings from the Grave exhibition interview, European Parliament Radio Links/BBC Radio Cornwall, The Yehudi Menuhin Space, European Parliament Building, Brussels.
Vortex 4 at this website address : www.vortex.uwe.ac.uk
Phil Whiting is married and has four grown up children and six grandsons.