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.
"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.
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.
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, gaining a Dip A.D. (Hons) and a PGDip in Fine 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 Comments :
"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.
"The painting is a powerful statement... good luck with your important and very interesting work." - Roman Halter, architect, artist and Auschwitz survivor. "Sombre but necessary paintings - testimony of an immutable recent history." - Professor Paul Gough,UWE,Bristol.
Current and forthcoming events
- November - December 2013: Glasbury Arts 10th Anniversary Festival Art Exhibition, Glasbury transferring to the Cyfartha Castle Publically Owned Museum & Gallery, Merthyr Tydfil, Glasbury and Merthyr Tydfil (more info)
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
- 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 (more info)
- 2012 'Places of Mourning in the Western World', Truro Cathedral, Truro (more info)
- 2012 Landscape and Memory, Belgrave Gallery, St Ives (more info)
- 2009 Remembrance - Places of Mourning in the Western World (see Bridgeman Art Library), New College Antechapel, University of Oxford
- 2009 Land, Memory and the Anxiety of Erasure, Stuart House Museum, Liskeard (more info)
- 2008 Srebrenica and Remembrance, Truro Cathedral, Truro
- 2008 Phil Whiting The Anxiety of Erasure, The Bayart Gallery, Cardiff
- 2008 Srebrenica, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
- 2008 Cornwall in Winter, Rainyday Gallery, Penzance
- 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 Places of Darkness and Light, Rainyday Gallery, Penzance (more info)
- 2005 Phil Whiting Cornwall Paintings, Campden Gallery (Nov), Chipping Camden, Gloucestershire
- 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
- 1989 Own gallery for 14 months : 20+works sold, Seymour Studios, Marazion, Cornwall
- 1988 Philip Whiting Recent Works, Lauderdale House, Highgate, London
- 1980 Figures and Landscapes, Stockers, Wells-next the sea, Norfolk
- 1980 Landscapes, The Gallery, Fakenham, Norfolk
- 1979 Philip Whiting Works on Paper, Stockers, Wells-next the Sea, Norfolk
- 1977 Own gallery for 2 years:39 paintings sold., The Secret Garden, Walsingham, Norfolk
- 2013 Modern and Contempories, Belgrave Gallery, St Ives
- 2012 Belgrave Gallery Winter Show, Belgrave Gallery, St Ives (more info)
- 2012 Truro School Art Collection Exhibition, The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro (more info)
- 2011 'Echoes and Traces - exhibition', Musgrove Park Hospital, Taunton (more info)
- 2010 Salmagundi, Belgrave Gallery, St Ives (more info)
- 2009 Paintings by Phil Whiting and Introducing Oliver Whiting, The Rainyday Gallery, Penzance
- 2008 The December Show, The Belgrave Gallery, St Ives.
- 2008 Six of One and Half a Dozen of the Other, Belgrave Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall
- 2007 St Ives 1975-2005 Art Colony in Transition' Book Launch Exhibition of Selected Artists., Belgrave Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall
- 2007 Unquiet Earth, St Ives Society of Artists Gallery, Norway Square, St Ives, Cornwall
- 2007 A Postcard from St Ives, The Belgrave Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall
- 2006 NSA Selected Exhibition, Goldfish Contemporary Fine Art, Penzance, Cornwall
- 2006 "Industrial Cornwall", The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
- 2005 NSA Selected Exhibition, Thompsons City Gallery, Central London (more info)
- 2005 Critics Choice - Selected by Professor Norbert Lynton, Lemon Street Gallery, Truro
- 2004 Critics Choice - John Russell Taylor, Newlyn Gallery, Penzance
- 2004 Summer Exhibition, Campden Gallery, Chipping Campden
- 2004 Voicing Dissent, Falmouth Arts Centre, Falmouth
- 2003 Two Landscape Painters, The Rainyday Gallery, Penzance
- 2003 Critics Choice - Joan Bakewell, Newlyn Gallery, Newlyn, reviewed in The Guardian newspaper
- 2002 Two Painters explore Western Approaches, Cable and Wireless Museum, Porthcurno, Cornwall
- 2002 Chiaroscurio, Vallico Sotto, Lucca, Tuscany
- 2002 Weather Forecast Land/Sea and Light, Newlyn Gallery, Newlyn
- 1999 In the path of the shadow, Geevor Mine, Pendeen
- 1999 Critics Choice - William Packer, Newlyn Gallery, Newlyn
- 1998 N.S.A., The Royal West of England Academy Galleries, Bristol
- 1997 Critics Choice - David Lee, Newlyn Gallery, Newlyn
- 1994 Responces to Landscape, Beatrice Royal Gallery, Eastleigh
- 1994 In a different light, Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro, reviewed on Kaleidoscope, Radio 4
- 1993 Places of Earth and Water, Rainy Day Gallery, Penzance
- 1985 Ann Barnham and Philip Whiting, The Old Fire Engine House Gallery, Ely, Cambs
- 1983 East Anglian Open, Fermoy Arts Centre, Kings Lynn, Norfolk
- 1982 4 works selected by P.C.A.G.M. Art Hire Scheme (reviewed on Anglia Television). Exhibition to last until July 1983, Peterborough City Art Gallery and Museum, Peterborough
- 1972 Philip and Sue Whiting (first ever sales - both selling 5 pictures each), The New Picturecraft (hire) Gallery, Holt, Norfolk
- 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
- 2012 Srebrenica, a Cry From the Grave, YouTube, Srebrenica-'A Cry From The Grave'- Images & photos
- 2013 Places of Mourning in the Western World, The Sir Terry Frost Gallery, The King's School, Worcester
- 2013 Places of Mourning in the Western World, King's School Assembly, Worcester
- 2012 Places of Mourning in the Western World, Truro Cathedral, Truro, Cornwall
- 2012 Landscape and Memory, Belgrave St Ives Gallery, St Ives, Cornwall
- 2011 Amnesty International 50th Anniversary Cornwall Schools Art Exhibition Address, Truro Cathedral, Truro
- 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.
- 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 Places of Mourning in the Western World., The Contemporary Art Society For Wales., Cardiff University.
- 2009 Conversations on Land, Memory and the Anxiety of Erasure, Stuart House Museum, Liskeard (more info)
- 2008 Srebrenica-a Reading., Truro Cathdral, Truro
- 2008 The Anxiety of Erasure., The Bayart Gallery, Cardiff
- 2008 A Leap of Imagination, The Royal Cornwall Museum, Truro
- 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 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 Northern Ireland Hugo Swire M.P., Devon
- 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
- 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 (more info)
- 2006 'The Womans Block', The Guardian, The Saturday Guardian main section.
- 2005 To Bear Witness as a War Artist, The Fund for Refugees in Slovenia, Bosnia
- 2005 Painting "Grade Church from Goonhilly Downs" The collection of Truro School., Truro School, Truro
- 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
- 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 Storer.Artwork 'The Trail of Tears' by Phil Whiting., Produced and engineered by EOI.www.engineersofimagination.com, Compact Disc
- 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, East Anglia
- 2012 The 20/21 International Art Fair, Royal College of Art, London (more info)
- 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
- 2012 Srebrenica Revisited. Truro Cathedral News Letter.
- 2012 Srebrenica Revisited. The Western Morning News.
- 2012 Book: Who's Who in Art 35th edition. Morven Press
- 2012 'Srebrenica (after a painting by Phil Whiting).' Poem by Victoria Field, Orbis Quarterly International Literary Journal.
- 2012 Bosnian War inspires exhibition. Western Morning News.
- 2012 Landscape and Memory:'haunting, brooding and sublime' at Belgrave St Ives. Frank Ruhrmund, The St Ives Times & Echo.
- 2012 Political painter who keeps alive the memory of the horrors of war. The Cornishman, March 1st 2012.
- 2012 A Whiting Double. Cornwall Today magazine.
- 2012 Landscape and Memory Exhibition Catalogue with foreword by Peter Davies. Belgrave Gallery St Ives.
- 2012 'Places of Mourning in the Western World' exhibition.Truro Cathedral News.
- 2011 BOOK:'Echoes and Traces', by Geoffrey Bertram.
- 2011 Amnesty International 50th Commemoration Cornwall Schools Art Exhibition Programme. Truro Cathedral.
- 2011 'Students Inspired By Professional Artist' - The West Briton
- 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).
- 2010 BOOK: 'Called by Mind and Spirit;Crossing the Borderlands of Childhood' - by Gavin Knight and Joanna Knight.
- 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 'A Minions Elegy' reproduced in the Gonamena Souvenir Programme.Sterts Theatre.
- 2009 Truro Cathedral Annual Review 2008
- 2009 'A Minions Elegy' painting featured in Western Morning News
- 2009 'Deeper Meanings.' Artists&Illustrators 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
- 2008 'Philip Whiting at Bayart.' Buzz Magazine.
- 2008 Cornwall Heartlands Project Brochure (front cover)
- 2008 Phil Whiting Srebrenica Exhibition at the RCM by Peter Davies. Axis Dialogue (March).
- 2008 Artist's Work Reflects Man's Inhumanity to Man.' Simon Parker-The Western Morning News.
- 2008 'Cornwall in Winter.' Frank Ruhrmund- The St Ives Times & Echo.
- 2007 BOOK:'St Ives 1975-2005 Art Colony in Transition.' By Peter Davies. (more info)
- 2007 BOOK:'Oil Paintings in Public Collections.'
- 2007 'Artist Phil Whiting Recalls a Year.' Cornwall Today Magazine.
- 2007 'Cook and Whiting.' Pip Palmer-Galleries Magazine.
- 2007 Phil Whiting Recent Paintings. 'Cornwall Life Magazine'.
- 2006 'The Woman's Block.' The Guardian.
- 2006 Srebrenica.Paintings from the Grave Catalogue.Forewords Prof.Paul Gough,Roman Halter,Hugo Swire MP
- 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 'Phil Paints Penwith Mines with Singular Fashion' Simon McNulty, Cornwall Arts magazine.
- 2000 'Mining heritage inspires artist.' The West Briton.
- 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 Showing of and TV studio discussion of the film 'Miloska', Slovenian National Television Maribor, Slovenia
- 2013 Miloska. A film by Rudi Uran (includes paintings from Whiting's Srebrenica series), Kramberger & Uran, Maribor,Slovenia (more info)
- 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 elected member of The Newlyn Art Gallery Council of Management, The Newlyn Art Gallery and The Exchange Gallery, Newlyn and Penzance, Cornwall
- 2006 Srebrenica Paintings from the Grave exhibition interview, European Parliament Radio Links/BBC Radio Cornwall, The Yehudi Menuhin Space, European Parliament Building, Brussels
- 2006 Invited to spend the day meeting science staff and visiting backrooms/labs etc to make drawings, The National Natural History Museum, Brussels
- 2006 Former acting chairman of The Newlyn Society of Artists, The Newlyn Society of Artists, The Newlyn Art Gallery, Newlyn, Cornwall
Web links - gallery/work/projects
Web links - article/press