Similar to a miner, contemporary painter Philip Buller says he feels like he’s often in the dark searching. Faced with the unknown, both professions often rely on intuition to guide them.
“Miners are in the dark, searching for something of value, and that’s what I feel like when I’m working. I’m searching for meaning,” says Buller.
Ultimately, Buller strives to blend the rigor of representation and the freedom of spontaneity through an intuitive process. He begins by accessing his unconscious, tapping into the same well as dreams. “My method of doing this is to begin by working with shapes and without subject matter.” As the process continious, Buller explains. “I ask ‘what does the painting need rather than what do I need’....it is better for me to arrive at my subject in this mysterious way.”
A designer and builder as well as a painter, Buller prefers working on large scale paintings. He exploits ambiguity and incorporates abstract elements to create naturalistic, captivating works of art suggesting universal themes. In his solo show at Quidley & Company, titled An Other, Buller explores crowds of figures with all of the implications, including how we are separated and how we are connected?
“Crowds of figures are full of compositional possibility. From a distance they can appear like a color-field painting.” he notes. “And even though my paintings don't begin with the subject matter, as they develop, my questions begin to revolve around the subject, in this case crowds”
Buller's process swings back and forth like a pendulum between careful representation and spontaneous paint manipulation. In “Cast” one can see this. He explains, “We recognize the figures in the painting, but then there are shapes of paint which seem to be unrelated to them. These negative shapes, separated from their places in between the figures, seem to float in front and create visual tension.”
An Other opens October 24 at the Boston showroom. Buller muses, “Looking at these paintings I hope the viewer would recognize something about him or herself, memories perhaps. And that the paintings might stimulate questions about the nature of relationship."