May 20 - July 12, 2015
Mountains have been signs of immovability and permanence. But our mountain beauty is melting, and Phil Irish hiked up a few seeking new perspectives. His new work emerges from his 2014 residency at The Banff Centre, during which he traveled to the Athabasca Oil Sands to tour an open-pit mine. Troubled and compelled by the responsive relationship between the sublime mountainous terrain and our societal addiction to fossil fuels, Irish has taken a turn into collage to explore his reactions.
These large-scale works on paper literally project themselves at the viewer, seeming on the point of pulling themselves from the walls in their urgency to convey Irish's observations of upheaval. For each installation, skillfully painted elements undergo radical revisioning, layering, tearing and folding. This aggressive breaking and mending is meant to provoke “the awareness that we need to re-imagine and re-order how we live.”
Phil Irish lives and makes art in Elora, Ontario. In addition to showing his paintings and sculptural collages in exhibitions across the country, Irish has been the curator of the Minarovich Gallery at The Elora Centre for the Arts, and taught art in several university programs in Southern Ontario.