This painting depicts text spelling out ‘Buddha!’ in yellow, orange and red letters over a warm and fuzzy peach-colored background.
The artist’s text-based paintings operate in a sort of duality between painting and writing. They allow Phillips to become an abstract painter focusing solely on texture and color while also connecting to the artist's practice focused on linguistic and literary pursuits and their relationship to contemporary culture. Much like Phillips’ critically acclaimed book Essays and Fictions—published by Giancarlo DiTrapano (1974-2021) of Tyrant Books—each text-based painting works as a short story.
When asked about his text-based work, Brad Phillips responded: “unlike my figurative paintings, the text-based paintings I make are just smaller, simpler ways of writing”.
Brad Phillips’ artwork explores dark subjects, including addiction, mental illness, mortality and eroticism. The artist’s paintings, ranging from text-based to photorealist, present truths and untruths in tandem. Phillips’s work often playfully references stereotypes of the struggling male artist, inviting viewers to misread his compositions as autobiography—exploring the intersection between dominant cultural readings, lived experience and the imagination.