Tom Phillips

Tom Phillips works as a painter and graphic artist, and musical composer. He was born in London in 1937 and studied at St Catherine's College, Oxford (1957-66), and at Camberwell School of Art (1961-63). He taught at Wolverhampton College of Art and at Bath Academy of Art, Corsham (1962-70). Since 1965 he has held numerous one-man exhibitions in Britain and abroad, including a retrospective show at the Vaduz Kunsthalle, Basle (1975). A central aspect of Tom Phillips's approach to painting is a concern with process, reflected not only in the structure of individual paintings but in his meticulous documentation of the development of each work. The film is true to the spirit of this concern in its overall shape and the way paintings are shown.

A few works - A Humument (1971-76), Benches (1970-71), Mappin Wall (1970-74) - are explored in detail and, by using the artist's own documentation, their development is traced from initial chance encounters (a postcard on Euston Station, for example) to completion. A Humument, an on-going element in Phillips's work derived from the Victorian novel A Human Document, opens the film and provides linking text and images for the sequences that follow. The artist provides his own particularly clear commentary.


Director: David Rowan
Script Consultant: Eric Rowan
Title music: Michael Nyman
Original music: Gavin Bryars
Arts Council of Great Britain:

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Catalog number #593

50 minutes Color

Age Range: 14 to Adult

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