For millennia humans have utilized and fetishized the raw materials in our environment. We have made practical use of them as fuel or tools, and in more esoteric ways such as ceremonial icons, commercial products or modern art. Over time this relationship has become instinctive to the point that wood holds strong symbolic associations, such as nature or usefulness. And yet, recently this relationship has become more tenuous as the materials we used to rely on can appear only distantly related to their natural origins.
Within this context Phil chooses to craft his work to be unique in order to place it apart from the easily mass reproduced objects of commercial and even artistic culture. The artisan skills he utilizes play with our instinctive relationship with the raw materials we can take for granted. The eye is tricked in to believing they have properties that we know they should not have, such as wood that appears to be rubbery or fleshy. The personal and fetishized forms the work takes challenge the viewers notions of how these materials should appear to us. On all levels Phil’s work attempts to dislodge our assumptions of what these most basic of materials are and mean to us, leaving us to question everything from their place in contemporary culture through to the very tactility of their nature.