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Philip Jarvis: Captain Paradise

Where: RDS Gallery, 6 Castle St, Dunedin, Otago

Restrictions: M

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Listed by: RDS Gallery

Philip Jarvis: Captain Paradise
16 April – 15 May 2021
Opening Reception: Friday 16 April, 5-7 pm

Philip Jarvis is perhaps best known for his ceramics, though his projects could be described as ‘3-D work that crosses a range of disciplines’, exemplified in the recent ‘Cargo Bike Art Project’ (2021) with Anna Muirhead for the Dunedin Fringe Festival. The art included in ‘Captain Paradise’ ranges from ceramics to photographic collages. Philip comments that, ‘Ceramics are always the starting point, but as I work more with ceramics, I want more control and gravity – this means using less of the kiln and bringing in other materials, including photographic images’.

A concept that returns again and again in conversation with Philip is something he calls ‘the Art of Being Visible’ – an idea that underlies his exhibition at RDS Gallery (16 April – 15 May 2021) titled ‘Captain Paradise’. Philip explains: ‘When you are a kid, lots of times, you dream about being someone. And…then, you just invent a character…and then you can talk about things through the character that you probably wouldn’t have the courage to address otherwise. “Captain Paradise” is an exploration of that…inventing a character.’ Pippi Miller in her occasional essay accompanying the exhibition emphasises that a ‘tension…between visibility and invisibility, distraction and vulnerability’ informs the works on view, a tension that speaks to the difficulty of ‘being someone’ in contemporary society, in which behaviour and appearance are increasingly on trial, subjected to scrutiny and frequently condemned out of hand. Jarvis concludes, ‘The exhibition “Captain Paradise” is an invitation to enter into my world. The whole point is to come into a space [that may be] in some ways overwhelming because it belongs to me, at least temporarily…[The exhibition is] an invitation to the viewer to enter the space that I have created’.

Philip Jarvis (b. 1968) completed a BA at the Camberwell School of Art (1987-1990). Born in Winchester, U.K., he has spent the last 24 years making art in Dunedin, which he considers his home. He has been awarded numerous residencies, including the Cowwarr Art Space (2016, Victoria, Australia), the Lochmara Lodge Artist Residency (2012, Marlborough), Wild Creations (2011, DOCO/CNZ Rotorua Lakes), Sturt Craft Centre (2009, Mittagong, NSW), AIRVallauris (1997, Vallauris, France). The Museum of New Zealand/Te Papa Tongarewa, the James Wallace Trust, the Frans Hal Museum (the Netherlands), A.I.R. Vallauris (France), the Shepparton Art Gallery (Australia), the Canterbury Museum, and the Otago Museum are among the institutions that own examples of his works. He has a reputation as an artist with a singular vision, while fostering collaboration with other artists as part of his project. His work has earned him a Portage Ceramics Premier Award (joint) in 2009 and a Sidney Myer Fund Premier Art Award in 2000 (joint). Recent exhibitions in Dunedin include ‘Toothpaste Tubes Doing Parkour’ (Rear Window, DPAG, 2017), ‘Portrait of the Artist as a Young Cactus’ (White Box, Dunedin, Fringe HQ, 2019), ‘Life Puzzle’ (RDS Gallery, 2020) and ‘Cargo Bike Art Space’ (Dunedin, Fringe, 2021). He also runs marathons.

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