Artist Biography - Phil Hale
One of the most talented and unpredictable British artists today, Phil Hale is a figurative painter especially known for his characteristically intense paintings and portraits. Hale painted a portrait of Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, during his final months in the office in 2007. Unveiled on April 23, 2008, in Westminster, the portrait was the only formal one p...ainted while Mr. Blair was in office.
Phil Hale has been involved in the contemporary art scene for a few decades now. His impressive resume shows he has had his hand in many creative endeavors including illustrations in magazines, book covers, portrait commissions, and gallery shows.
Even without the knowledge of his success, prestige and credibility as a leading figure in representational figurative art, one is able to understand the brilliance and genius of this man just by viewing his works. His work is careful and deliberate and with masterful manipulation of light and dark and the fluidity of forms, he creates paintings that seem to exist somewhere in between the abstract and the figurative.
There are several themes and styles Phil has explored over the course of his career, most notably a series of dark, fragmented pieces conveying devastation, impending doom, and distress. This series, Life Wants to Live, was showcased at the Jonathon Levine Gallery in New York this past February. The striking images he created with oil provide an unsettling showcasing of the unreliability of recounting events and narratives.
If you look carefully, you can see the influence of photography in these fragmented pieces. There is a suggestion of a story; but his real but expressive way of applying paint allows for room for interpretation- a glimpse of a stressful scene combining figure and debris with spontaneous abstraction. This isn’t art for the weak, or those looking to be comforted.
As the focal point of the painting, Hale initially paints isolated figures and characters with slight anatomical distortions, which are in some sort of confrontation. Interested in tension, he creates paintings that emphasize angular and dynamic aspects of the figure. His works are dark and sometimes introduce unexpected abstraction, which shortens a realistic figure or conceals a part of it.
Phil’s past work’s includes dynamic, colorful portraits and figurative work showing his talent for creating raw, real, and captivating paintings. His abilities shine through with his inclination to not only emulate the human form, but to manipulate it and make it come to life with the help of expert handling of oil paint. Movement and complexity are the themes Phil pulls off exceptionally well. His figures are rarely stagnant and always enchanting.