"Four-Two"

"Four-Two" by Frank Phillips Provided

After spending a few nights out and about in Charleston over a long weekend, I made a few observations that I would like to share.

First, if you have not gone by the Terrace Theater on James Island since artist John Abrams painted the Hitchcock mural on the outer columns of the building, you are missing out. Even if you don’t see a movie, take the long way home one afternoon and give it a look. It’s an impressive work of pop culture and artistic prowess.

Second, Charleston is fortunate to have venues that work with local artists to display their work in places outside of art galleries. For example, the waiting area of PURE Theatre is lined with local art and several local restaurants and coffee shops I visited have local art on display.

Finally, there are many, many opportunities for aspiring artists, young and old, to take classes and sessions to learn or develop a new creative and artistic skill. Personally, I’ve always wanted to learn how to knit, and I plan to take advantage of the opportunities offered in Charleston. And the earlier young people are exposed to art and the creative process, the more they respond to it. It's truly amazing what creating art can do for a child’s self-esteem and comprehension.

All of these observations culminate in what many of us already know: Charleston is an incredible city for artists of any caliber. Being out and not specifically looking for art made me realize that we are surrounded by it, even when we’re not aware of it. Sometimes unexpected art in unexpected places strikes an emotional tone.

With that being said, for a few short weeks until Nov. 30, the George Gallery has an extraordinary exhibit from artist Frank Phillips entitled “Scripting Space.” An artist working more than 20 years, Phillips is an abstract artist with a unique philosophy and approach to his creations. Phillips’ works are acutely mathematical, incorporating a style that relies just as heavily on engineering and physics as it does on the creative inspirations of color and design.

Much of Phillips’ work is an exercise in form, function and process. His art is certainly a completed product, but the imprints of his process linger across the canvas long after they’ve been hung on a gallery wall. Every element, from the direction of the brushstrokes to the texture of the geometric patterns on canvas, operates together with machine-like quality.

In Phillips’ website, he uses words like “immediacy,” “physicality,” and “tension.” For most artists, these words act as mere placeholders; buzzwords to substitute for the difficulty of describing the intangible process of creating art. But for Phillips, every one of these nouns rings with a truth that is immediately recognizable when viewing his work.

As an artist, Phillips is a direct line into the middle distance where the left brain and right brain coalesce. And the results on display in “Scripting Space,” are intense, striking and highly creative.

What: Frank Phillips, “Scripting Space"

Where: The George Gallery, 50 Bogard St.

When: through Nov. 30

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