On the Go

Having had both a religious and a science background, my artistic practice has often inhabited this territory. I have been interested in the way that a made or positioned piece can be a metaphor for future events or movements or for those that have already occurred, and how this may challenge our (scientific) perceptions, religious notions or daily activities. For instance, the idea of a 'fake' or 'copy' when attributed to something can lead us to question its validity or authenticity and how, once perceived as such, it might cease to become important or conversely, that its intrinsic value might increase.

Experimental by nature, I have tended to place an emphasis on the material that I use and that tends to be plastic and other oil based derivatives. I first encountered polystyrene resin whilst working under the guidance of Tanya Dean at Brighton College of Art (now the University of Brighton) and I fell in love with it as a material to use in painting and sculpture. Its versatility often sparks off ideas which can be developed further. In the act of production, the work provides a possible container for my ideas, experiments and feelings. The act of completion can be more problematic.

In the last 15 years I have been investigating its properties and experimenting with its possibilities. My work is informed by modernist and post modernist triumph and excess. My sources are often drawn from print media, packaging and popular culture. Some of my work is characterised by process, it may raise questions about the act of making and painting, the choice of subject matter as well as the finished object itself. I have often focused on the peripheral or overlooked. I may labour on a piece as if it were a construction, sometimes producing individual parts separately to add, a piece at a time to the construction, sometimes pouring and sometimes painting with a brush.

Neither wholly abstract or figurative the paintings are anchored in the concrete experience of production. In a sense they are objects as well as paintings. They directly contrast the notion of a hand crafted or painterly piece of work with evidence of the artists handiwork almost absent.

I think that being creative, that making and doing are fundamental activities for me – probably they are for everyone.

One of the many problems that I face is the tendency to get side tracked, especially if I find something old or thrown away that I might find a new use for.

Behind the wheel I'm most dangerous when I see a skip.

Philip Cole January 2014



Nationality: British – born in Fareham, Hampshire in 1961.  Works and Lives in Brighton, UK. 

Studio address: 4S1 Phoenix Brighton, 10 - 14 Waterloo Place Brighton BN2 9NB East Sussex, UK



1988     PGCE Science University of Sussex Brighton

1982     BSc (Hons) 2:1 Biology University of Sussex, Brighton, East Sussex



2018     H_A_R_D_P_A_I_N_T_I_N_G  Phoenix Brighton

2017     Editions '17 Project 78 Gallery. St Leonards-on-Sea

2017     Perspectives 2012-2017 at ONCA Gallery Brighton

2016     Editions '16 Project 78 Gallery. St Leonards-on-Sea

2016     'Trash or Treasure - a Peripheral View' ONCA Gallery. Brighton

2015     Editions '15 Project 78 Gallery. St Leonards-on-Sea

2015     'East Sussex Open' Towner, Devonshire Park, College Rd, Eastbourne,

2015     'A Peripheral VisionProject 78 Gallery. St Leonards-on-Sea

2014     '20 Painters' Phoenix Gallery Brighton

2014     ++(+)+ WP29 Community Arts Center Brighton

2013     'Dust & Vermin' A curated Pop up Gallery at various venues Brighton

2012     'Final Light' Phoenix Brighton

2010     'Diastr' Phoenix Gallery Brighton

2010     'Colecorner on the Hoof' at Factory Brighton

2009     'Keep off the Grass' Open house, Brighton Festival

2008     'Preparing for Emergencies' Open house, Brighton Festival

2003     'Cracks in the Empirical Pavement' Phoenix Gallery, Brighton

2003     'Temporal' Phoenix Gallery, Brighton

2002     'Hang Ten' Phoenix Gallery, Brighton

2001     "Adding and Subtracting' Redroaster, Brighton

2000     '21x21' University Gallery, Newcastle

2000     Sussex Open, Brighton

1998     'Re-Enchant' Open House, Brighton


Work History

Current     Artist at Phoenix Brighton Studio 4S1 Waterloo Place Brighton 10–14 Waterloo Place Brighton BN2 9NB East Sussex UK

Current     Quality Nominee, Teacher of Science, Tutor, Eco Coordinator, School Mentor Downlands school, Hassocks, West Sussex

07 – 15     Trustee, Project Art Works: An artist led organisation that works alongside people with complex needs on a range of visual art projects

99 – 12     Member of the Artistic strategy group, Phoenix Brighton

89 – 92     Head of House, Oakmeeds school, Burgess Hill, West Sussex

87 – 89     General Manager, Scotch House Ltd. Regent Street, London

85 – 87     Assistant General Manager, Burberrys Ltd. Regent Street, London


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