All images courtesy of the artist.
by Julio Lopez Tornel
Principio del formulario
The artwork of Philip Goss smells ancient and sacred (is it that the ancient smells sacred and vice versa?) - and this is probably what makes it so disturbing, especially if we think that the artist feeds on a breadth of contemporary media and he is immersed in a contemporary city such as London.
He feeds on this contemporary magma, yet in his drawings he lives in a past, hallucinatory world. How this achieved?
He has made collages taken from cultures and manipulated by physical processes of assemblage or reproductive techniques such as screen printing. But his drawings have become truly powerful and disturbing was when these processes have become internal; secret and mental decision-making that you want to deeply understand. One wants to understand, for example, why a warrior is carrying a rigid rabbit as a weapon (or is it a balloon?), or why a brand that began as a decorative pattern has ended up becoming the subject of the drawing.
We want to go up the river to the main source, to discover the artist's original inspiration before he hides and buries it in the final image - to see how these images end up combining the excitement and grief, catharsis and carnival , grief and feast. There is a reverse process: where the original images are horribly stripped of information as they develop, which means that their ability to signify meaning intensifies, and reading possibilities are multiplied.
This stripping down of meaning is inherent to his practice of drawing and it has been magnified in his recent work, where these fragments exists paradoxically both as a part of a tangible narrative and also as an absurd image. This ambiguity exists through the process of drawing itself. In a picture which seems a relic, both in the materials and subject; in the iconography we see a kind of procession, but ... Who died? or is it a ritual? Where do they go? Or do they simply walk in their distress? I suspect and I worry that, like many of his drawings, there is a secret joke. Yet similarly the many burlesque characters carry a regret; they express the deep and sad mockery of the absurd.