Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Daniel Phillips

Daniel Phillips’s time-lapse videos in his show “Inherent Tendencies Toward Disorganization” at Boston's Judi Rotenberg Gallery are cool novelties – expressionist action painting in, well, action.

“Bird’s Eye” is a time-lapse video triptych of 11 months in his art school studio (he just received a master of fine arts degree from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts) shot from overhead. At a frenetic, sped up pace, things pile up, detritus skitters around, Phillips dashes around, and so on.

In “Ice Teepee,” a collaboration with Chloe Cerwinka, he builds a small wooden teepee frame on the roof of the Boston building where he resides, sprays it with water that becomes icicles, then films day and night, snow and clear, etc.

“Drawing with Light” shows him dancing around a studio space – usually naked, save for sneakers – with a light that through a trick of shutter speed creates patterns in the air. Plus cameos of an expressionist figurative painting.

Phillips’s expressionist performance videos are entertaining to watch – especially as a sort of ambient background visuals – especially the goofball running around naked. They’re like an old MTV music videos with nice historical echoes of ‘60s performance art as well as documentary films of Picasso and Pollock painting. But unlike those predecessors, Phillips’s actions don’t seem to get beyond goofy larks to something more resonant. And that’s the ingredient that he needs to add.

Daniel Phillips, “Inherent Tendencies Toward Disorganization,” Judi Rotenberg Gallery, 130 Newbury St., Boston, April 30 to June 6, 2009.

Pictured from top to bottom: Daniel Phillips, “Ice Teepee,” installation view at Rotenberg Gallery, “Bird’s Eye” and “Drawing with Light,” all 2008.


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