Exquisite Taxidermy
24 October – 28 November, 1996


Opening Reception October 24, 6- 8 PM

Phil Bower's work walks a tightrope that bridges life/death, strength/sickness, reality/fantasy in an investigation into the language of these often idealized concepts. The works are at once gorgeous and highly disturbing. Meticulously painted, richly colored, lustrous surfaces recall the works old masters, but Mr. Bower's world is not one of simple beauty. We are led through sado-sexual scenes with limbless participants who are trapped within self-propelled cycles of desire/punishment. Prosthetically enhanced, they instigate their own fate. Powerless heroes stare mutely, eyes transfixed and urgent. Intimidating characters are rendered helpless by the sardonic manipulation of backgrounds or expressions.

Interpolated with these are equally intriguing paintings depicting ordinary beings in elegantly bleak interiors, where simple gesture becomes an affirmation of loneliness. These works are an eloquent study in absolute existentialism. Smaller pieces focus on larger than life body parts insistently dominating the canvas. Fetishizing a collective psychic dismemberment, the paintings are meant to resonate in the mind long after the images are absorbed.