From Sharne Wolff…
It’s presumably been by choice, but notwithstanding his selection for several important residencies and having his art exhibited in major shows and prizes, Philjames’ artistic career hasn’t charted the ordinary course. After graduating from the National Art School in 2002, he’s exhibited in Australia and internationally but hasn’t opted for the standard commercial gallery route. Philjames’ ‘been there, done that’ approach means that Yellow Peril is now his fourth solo show at Alaska Projects – one of Sydney’s more experimental Artist Run Initiatives.
Alaska’s blurb notes that the artist uses “a cartoon yellow palette as a starting point to affirm the role of cartoons as a primary moral source for the television generation”. In the works on display – most of which are made by painting over lithographs – the artist reworks classic landscapes as well as religious and other portraits. While Philjames’ art draws on the legacies of pop and street art in some respects, it follows an acutely personal trajectory and is constantly unpredictable – in a good way. When familiar yellow characters like Bart Simpson and Spongebob pop up in surprising settings like enveloping the head of Jesus Christ or grinning toothily in an exotic landscape, the results are as funny as they are provocative.
Until April 26
Alaska Projects, Kings Cross
Pic: Philjames Jupiter and Beyond the Infinite 2014, oil on offset lithograph. Courtesy the artist and Alaska Projects.