Richard Philips’ latest exhibition of large-scale glossy portraits sees the artist turn his gaze on contemporary pop culture. No longer restrained to the pictorial style of the fifties and early sixties, the artist has produced a series of ten portraits to delve into the world of the superficial worship of teen celebrities.
Most Wanted is an exhibition from artist Richard Philips, at the White Cube Gallery, Hoxton Square. The exhibition will feature images of pop idols such as Zac Efron and Miley Cyrus, drawn in a way which harks back to the iconography of the Byzantine era, complete with halo rings, affirming their immortal status. The backgrounds reference the red carpet backdrops, where the flash bulb lights of the celebrity-hungry media create the iconic images, turning mere mortals into celebrities, icons, and idols.
Although Philips could be seen to be conforming to the very thing he states he would criticize with these images, one cannot but admire his Warholian respect for the encompassing power of Pop Art. Long resigned to the intellectual, the exclusive element of the art world is here broken down and his paintings are made available anyone who has ever flicked through the Disney channel or walked past a Twilight billboard.
Most Wanted was at White Cube Gallery, London until 5 March 2011.
By Charlotte M Davey