Several influences are obvious: the bright forms, although more geometric, are reminiscent of Alexander Calder; the smoothness of motion pays homage to George Rickey; and the dialogue between graphic and three dimensional work refers to Ellsworth Kelly.
Various kinetic sculptors use slightly different methods to create motion: in Calder's work the moving elements are attached from the top, Rickey's are pendulums, Tim Prentice uses ballast, Lin Emery connects at the bottom, and Pedro de Movellan sometimes uses magnets. This gives a very different effect to each. In contrast, Phillips has the moving elements held at top and bottom so that each moves in a 360 degree orbit around a vertical axis.
There is a provocative contrast between the rigidity of the frame and the fluidity of the moving elements that seemingly disappear and reappear as they revolve, revealing the surrounding landscape through the negative space. In motion the sculptures appear light and airy as their glossy, colored surfaces reflect their natural surroundings.
Phillips' sculpture recalls Plato's description of the beauty of geometric form: "...these are not, like other things, beautiful relatively, but always and absolutely."
- Wendy McDaris, (catalog essay, 2005)
Wendy McDaris is an independent curator of art and cultural critic living in Hudson, New York.
Permanent Public & Corporate Installations
The Steinberg Conference Center, Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
The American College, Bryn Mawr, PA
Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY
Brown Rudnick Berlack Israels, LLP, New York, NY
Goizueta Business School, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Egelston Children’s Hospital, Emory University, Atlanta, GA
Schiffer Publishing Corp, Atglen, PA
Sarah Lawrence College, Bronxville, NY
George Washington Carver Houses, 100th Street and Madison Avenue, New York, NY
1953 Bard College, BA
Parsons School of Design, drawing and design
The Jewish Museum, metal fabrication
Shakespeare says the object of art is 'to hold a mirror up to nature'. I believe this, but that raises the question: what part of nature does constructivist art hold the mirror up to? I have always been fascinated by grids and repetition. They have a sacred quality. I think they echo the most fundamental aspect of life: the ability of nature to replicate itself and create order.
In my non-kinetic work the grids are obvious. In the kinetic pieces the rigid stainless steel 'frame' is minimally grid-like. It is a strong environment whose existence allows the discs or squares or triangles to move in their own orbit. They are not totally free. They are free within limits, as are we all.
My work is never created to illustrate anything. I simply try to make something beautiful. The insight comes afterwards. That is the way I would like the viewer to see it.
- Roger Phillips