Currently on display at Hashimoto Contemporary in San Francisco, is “Belongings”, a solo show of new charcoal and graphite drawings on paper by Joel Daniel Phillips. Following his first solo show at the gallery in 2014, the artist returns this May with a body of work that explores the rapidly-shifting social fabric of San Francisco.
Over the past five years, Phillips has focused on drawing as a way to connect with and learn about his local community. During this time the artist created a series of portraits in staggering detail that explore the tensions between voyeurism and the ever- expanding class distinctions of the Mid-Market area. Through larger-than-life sized renderings of individuals from this neighborhood, Phillips strives to tell the stories of those often overlooked and unidentified.
The artist describes his depictions as “an attempt to play with our voyeuristic tendencies toward the indigence surrounding us, hiding in plain sight.” Phillips’ goal is to celebrate each person he draws as the main character in their own narrative. “Belongings” explores the framework of portraiture by presenting four large-scale figures paired with solitary objects. Serving as an extension of their character, these possessions occupy the same sized paper as their human counterpart. The diptychs stand at a monumental scale, speaking not only through their realistic presence, but through the negative space that surrounds them.
Phillips elaborates, ”The drawings are a visual record of my striving to recognize unknown and unnoticed individuals through the tip of my pencil... I am fascinated by the intricacies and commonalities that we share as humans, and search for moments when our projected senses of self are transparent, allowing deeper, more truthful emotions to become visible.”