Philip Kilmore
Up North Exhibition
to view details of work, click on image   
The 'Continuum' Works  

Unlike most landscape artists, who find a scene they like and then set about capturing it on canvas, these paintings start as a rough sketch on paper drawn from my imagination. In the process of creating the work on canvas I use photos as a reference to create the natural reality that you see here. By working this way I am able to compose my scenes to highlight what I want the viewer to focus on. I want to encourage people to think about what they are seeing – the fact that the work looks like a photograph but is created on the canvas from my imagination.
In reality the scenes may not exist but evoke a feeling and a sense of place. They are redolent with spirituality, and the close perspective of the foreground draws the viewer into the work - at once intimate, part of the scene, but also an observer. I want to convey the feeling of the viewer being on the threshold of discovery, coming across a scene glimpsed for the first time. I also want the viewer to think about their relationship with the environment – past and present, natural and man-made, and how we have shaped that environment for our own purposes.
In the Continuum series I have tried to convey the continual cycle of life, decay, and rebirth that is pivotal to our (& earth's) survival. The paintings are set in native bush, which epitomises this cycle or contimuum: that our future is built on the bones of the past, represented by the leaf litter & the primordial rocks; the present is the living green trees; the future the landscape viewed in the distance - a distance that can also be seen as the pre-European past. This journey through time leads to the premise that our destiny is gradually moving further from our colonisation and settlement of the land to our eventual exit from it. It will be a rebirth of paradise, after man has gone, and our past becomes our future. Nature takes over again, and it returns to how it was. It is my optimistic hope that this is how we will leave the earth, not a devastated blackened Armageddon, but that man's presence will just disappear, leaving the earth - eventually - as we found it. So there is an optimism and hope in these works, as well as a celebration of our beautiful Northland and for the people who settled it.

Continuum II
Ruapekapeka Kaitiaki
Window to Mimiwhangata
Matapouri Gatekeeper
Guard of Honour II
The Landscape Works

Since I began painting many years ago I have been drawn to the New Zealand landscape, particularly the Northland landscape, with it's distinctive quality of light and lush many-hued shades of green in the native bush. I have always manipulated my landscapes, moving a building or hill, placing subjects where they work best, and using photographs as references to accurately capture the realistic detail that is so important in my work. This is not unlike our attempts in life to shape our surroundings to suit our purposes. In my landscapes I don't focus on the majestic and obvious, but on the ordinary and everyday. I concentrate on the variations and subtleties in my subjects to bring out the inherent beauty in often overlooked objects: a gnarly old tree-trunk or patterns in the sand. Once over that initial “wow” factor of a spectacular landscape, what is there left for the viewer to explore? By concentrating on the “little things” that make up the big picture, I hope that my work can be looked at again and again.
I prefer to use the abstract structures of colour, composition and form to create a sense of drama and balance in my paintings, rather than the romantic use of light prevalent in traditional landscapes. This freedom to manipulate and control all of the elements in my work is what sets my work apart from photographs and traditional landscape paintings which simply record and enhance what is already there

Taddy at Parua Bay
Return to the Sea, Oakura II
Rockpool Oakura
Rock On, Oakura
The 'Mopheads' Works  

After many years of painting landscapes and exploring themes relating to European colonisation I was drawn to hydrangeas and their connection to the past, they are the Everyman's plant we all grew up with. I see the hydrangea as a metaphor for European arrival in New Zealand and the putting down of “roots”. Many hydrangeas have survived where man has long departed, standing alone as monuments or memorials to past lives.
In these works I can combine my love of the intricate detail, colour and composition of the flowers with my love of nature and themes that have been everpresent in my earlier works. I really enjoy capturing the flaws and blemishes that give the plants character, like the lives they are metaphors for. The many layers of semi-transparent glazes capture the delicacy and translucence of leaves and petals, creating works that are vibrant, full of live and movement. The rhythmical, circular compositions draw the viewer deeper into the work, where you linger and become lost, become mesmerised.

In the Pink
Tickled Pink
Lost in Blue
Blue Blooms

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