Exploring grief through art: Arundel exhibition for Phil Tyler

A University of Brighton lecturer's evocative artwork is to be exhibited in three shows.

Phil Tyler
Phil Tyler

Phil Tyler’s self-portrait paintings, based around themes of grief and loss, are featured in The Sunday Times Watercolour competition and the ING Discerning Eye competition.

The shortlisted works in the Sunday Times competition are touring venues across the UK. The ING Discerning Eye event will be held at the Mall Galleries from November 15-25.

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Phil also has a one-person showcase from October 6-27 at the Zimmer Stewart Gallery in Arundel, entitled Sussex and Self.

Phil said: “Having one’s work appear in a national competition is certainly a boost and these moments can be an affirmation that one is doing the right thing,when the work you feel strongly about gets accepted.”

The triple recognition follows Phil’s success in the Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year Award earlier this year where he was a finalist.

The images featured in both of the competition shows are part of a wider body of work called the Edward St Series.

For the series Phil drew inspiration from the aesthetic of the University of Brighton building in Edward Street as well as his experience of loss, he explained.

Of the collection, Phil said: “This series of paintings are self-portraits, sometimes just the head or the top half of my body made in stark dramatic lighting – they explore ideas of mortality, grief and loss.

“I grieved through painting.

“I did painting after painting and drawing after drawing.

“My brother died five years ago and my dad died and my wife’s parents have gone.

“I’m the only person left in my family which is odd because I’m the youngest.”

Phil, who lectures in textiles at the university and has taught in art and design for more than 30 years, added that the influence for this series can be traced back to a range of naked self-portraits he made in the mid-1990s.

One of the paintings is on permanent display at the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery.

Phil is the author of two books, Drawing and Painting the Nude and Drawing and Painting the Landscape.

Phil describes himself as a “figurative” artist.

“I have worked with the three figurative genres over the last 25 years – landscape, figure and still life.”

For more information about Phil’s work visit: philip-tyler-artist.squarespace.com.

For more details about the Zimmer Stewart exhibition, see also www.zimmerstewart.co.uk.