Ciara Phillips

On the cusp of perfect logic, spinning apart into something

Presenting a solo exhibition featuring Ciara Phillips, recipient of the 2020 Queen Sonja Print Award: On the cusp of perfect logic, spinning apart into something

29.09.2023 - 07.01.2024

Through transforming the Queen Sonja Print Award exhibition space, Irish/Canadian artist Ciara Phillips has created a show celebrating the many possibilities presented by the medium of printmaking. Not only is she displaying vibrant monotypes where she has applied a mixture of printmaking techniques, such as woodcut, screen-print, relief print, and photo-etching – she has also immersed the works in a screen-printed wallpaper, creating a grid which alludes to the digital while emphasizing the materiality of printed works on paper. Inspired by literature and poetry, Phillips has introduced an element of text, connecting the works through suggestive associations.

"Using simple materials that are close at hand - paper, tape, plastic - I build up works, often with John Cage’s adage ‘begin anywhere’ in mind. It’s a process that is both improvised and intuitive – imagery is not conceptualised and executed, it is eked out of a process that involves the manipulation of material. Folded paper, scratched wood, torn tape, blended ink. How much information does a work need in order for something special to happen within it? What makes for interesting friction? I think of printing as feeling my way into a problem, and clawing my way back out. Decisions accumulate, outcomes diverge – the works articulate their own logic of on-the-cuspness, looseness.

This series of works, while definitively analogue in the making, often also elicit the digital. Unanchored forms float in simulated space, suspended in frozen gradients. What will be the outcome of our absorption - our thoughts leaking into the digital realm? What of our interface with screens - information expanding and contracting through a recently adapted language of touch? Tapping, pinching, swiping. Is there beauty to be found in this seduction? How are our physical bodies and emotional selves holding up?"

Ciara Phillips (b. 1976, Ottawa) is a Canadian/Irish artist based in Bergen. She studied Fine Art at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario (BFA ’00) and completed a Master’s Degree at Glasgow School of Art in 2004. Her work has been exhibited widely in museums and public galleries since 2010 with major exhibitions taking place at the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia in Sydney, Tate Britain in London, and the Benaki Museum in Athens. Phillips has been artist-in-residence at St John’s College, Oxford, Headlands Centre for the Arts in Marin County, California and at Grafikens Hus in Stockholm. In 2014 she was nominated for the UK’s prestigious Turner Prize for her ongoing artwork Workshop and in 2020 she was awarded the Queen Sonja Print Award for her work in the field of printmaking. She is a Professor at the University of Bergen, Faculty of Fine Art, Music and Design.

Photo: Øystein Thorvaldsen

Photo: Øystein Thorvaldsen