Feature Storyteller and self-taught painter Cece Philips
Philips’s decision to study history at university is representative of her interest in stories and the narratives we construct from the past. She’s drawn to identity and femininity, and often uses archival writings and found historical photographs to inspire the figures she paints in her large-scale figurative oil works. Her current body of work explores the relationships between women and power, and how expressions of authority and influence have historically been depicted and how they can be re-imagined.
Barnes says: “Her works are sensitive, inviting the viewer to explore possible narratives around each sitter, and to question preconceived ideas around their stories.
“In her recent works, these characters often exist in voids of dark or light, rather than our known worlds. The interactions, either between subject and viewer, or between figures depicted, is what is important, and what is explored. They may share smiles, glances or knowing looks. The works often feel intimate, enclosed, as a snapshot of a wider conversation. Cece’s practice, focusing on the figures fixed onto faded scenes, injects life and beauty into the ordinary, or the missed. They are vibrant and immediately recognisable.
“I’m so impressed by everything I see from Cece and can’t wait to see what the rest of her career has in store.”
Philips’s first international solo show, ‘Memories of the Future’ at Post Gallery Zurich, opened on Monday and runs until 20 November. She will also be contributing to three group shows this coming winter, including ‘At Peace’, curated by Jade Foster at Gillian Jason Gallery. Philips says: “I’m really proud of the body of work I’ve created for my current solo show at Post Gallery, but in all honesty, I would consider my biggest achievement to date being able to sustain a career as an artist full-time.”
Philips is also attending the inaugural CloverMill Residency x She Curates collaboration in Amsterdam at the end of November 2021.
About the champion
Curator, presenter, writer, arts host and gallery advisor, Mollie E Barnes has many strings to her bow and is a very active member of the London art community. She believes in genuine inclusivity in the arts and founded platform She Curates in 2020, five days into lockdown, to champion and celebrate womxn artists and art professionals. She’s also a Patron member of the Christie’s Education Young Collectors Club.