Jade Ariana Philips in her studio in Round Rock, Texas
Jade Phillips is an emerging contemporary figurative artist living and working in Austin, Texas. Her work explores self-hood and perception. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design with honors in 2016. Phillips was recognized with a number of scholarships during her time at RMCAD, such as the Carla Miranda and Dustin Peletier Memorial Award through the Philip J. Steel Foundation. She went on to graduate from Eastern Illinois University with a Master’s in Studio Art in 2018. She has exhibited work in galleries throughout Illinois and Colorado.
Jade Phillips explores selfhood, perception, and the one constant in life: change. It’s reflected through her kaleidoscopic, almost aqueous, portraits. Her paintings are figurative and abstract at once. They are informed by a deep devotion to her drawing and painting practice and so are hyper- realistic in their detail, yet they are pure imagination in their blurred, specular intensity.
Phillips paints the briefest of moments—the split-second between the glance in a mirror. As well as, the recognition that the organism looking back is both ourself and not ourself. The mirror stage, psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan says, is when the infant first identifies themselves in a mirror and realizes they are a thing in the world. But, of course, the image isn’t real; it’s backwards, it’s merely a reflection. Phillips’s subject is this jarring, slippery instant, the uncanny recognition that happens each time we catch sight of ourselves.
Her greens, pinks, blues, and yellows bleed into one another. Creating a watery reflection of the face. But the colors continue beyond the figure. Then into the background becoming an extension of the person. In a sense, Phillips’s subjects are engulfed in themselves. Immersed in a background that is an embodiment of that captured moment—their inner life.