Over the past thirty years, Phil Braham has quietly emerged as one of Scotland’s most significant painters. His consistent engagement with and knowledge of philosophy and metaphysics places him firmly in a European tradition of symbolism and sometimes at odds with the cool, ironic zeitgeist which has characterised much contemporary practice. This exhibition covers themes from the last few years and introduces a new series of haunting Ophelia paintings.
"I am a painter and a photographer, and I cross between these disciplines according to the nature of the project at hand. I am interested in the image as a catalyst for memory, and my focus can shift from collective historical memory to intimate reflections of personal significance.
My paintings are carefully developed to look almost photographic in their rendering, because I seek to reduce the egotism of ‘style’ as far as possible. I refuse to allow clever gestures or seductive textures to develop, as they would divert attention from the poetic resonance of the image itself. Perhaps photography has earned a certain authority over painting in terms of a truthful representation of the world, yet the photograph is subjective too; compositional framing, depth of focus, length of exposure etc. are manipulations to bend the image to the will of the artist. When I want to produce images that are specific to a time and place I will work within the discipline of photography, shooting on a manual 6x9cm film camera. When I wish to produce a body of work that is rooted in poetic association I will choose to develop the project as a series of paintings. There is a cross-fertilisation of formal visual language across these discipline boundaries." - Phil Braham