Phillip Bissell

Piccadilly Bound by Phillip Bissell
Lunch Hour by Phillip Bissell
The Place To Be by Phillip Bissell
All Systems Go by Phillip Bissell
Predominantly pen and ink-rendered cityscapes illustratively realised in a blaze of frenzied glory are what marks Phillip Bissellís compositions out from the chasing contemporary landscape artist pack. Superbly detailed pieces which more often than not shed his creative light on the immediately familiar city streets of a certain London town; captured in the visual pace and spirit that the UKís capital city dictates and wouldnít have any other way. Born and raised in the West Midlands in 1952, alongside of his obvious interest and talent for art, Bissell was equally passionate about cinema and classical music; both of which were founded during his formative years growing up in Birmingham.

Future compositional ideas which we see in pictorial reality today were formed whilst watching and listening to performances closely, and scrutinising the every detail of how the directors captured and composed their screen shots (with direct regard to cinematography). Indeed, itís these fastidiously observed episodes in Bissellís younger life that enabled him to later take his art work in such apparently bold and fresh directions which we witness today.

Lines, composition, forms, structure are all essential within Bissellís practice and are subjected to intense and painstaking consideration and deliberation at every stage of his committing his finished pieces to their canvas surround. Just one look at Bissellís signature cityscapes with their concentrated lines, forms and marks, and the fascination to depict them, and you can judge for yourself the degree of importance he puts into every illustrative turn. Whatís more, by simplifying his skylines, Bissell can then compliment the seeming flatness of them with the dynamic intensity of the architecture which is pitched beneath its gaze.

These unequivocally powerful and expressive images radiate with life and vitality, and you can clearly witness the artistís intrigue and fascination with the masses of rooftops, windows and juxtaposed buildings which essentially seem to vibrate against one another in exciting and graphically innovative ways.

In Bissellís own words he goes some way to elaborate on his approach and material application when he admits to the following. Bissell; ďThe painted image is a magical place. It is the place where imagination attains reality and life. It is a place where the artist links his inner world with the inner world of his audience.Ē Bissell goes on to conclude that; ďIt is a crossroads where experiences meetĒ. Evidently colour and ambient mood and atmosphere have been easy illustrative bedfellows in Bissellís work to date, whether it be these typical cityscapes, or for that matter the figurative and now abstract work heís experimenting with, in quite the artistic departure from whatís gone before. Bissell has long championed the intrinsical role that mood and feeling plays in his works, having firstly been evoked by the implication and administering of hue and saturations which does this stance justice.

People and landscapes are at the epicentre of Bissellís hallmark compositions, sometimes separately, yet always implied when absent. Each individual landscape Bissell considers to be a virtual set, awaiting the arrival of the actors from stage left and right, who will bring this un-named play to life. Thus ensuring the narrative (implied or otherwise) is paramount to the piece, even in the figureless pictorials. Bissell is almost fanatical about this perceived questioning found lying within each composition, which he fervently believes hang from the lips of viewers looking in to this paintings for the first time. What has happened? What is happening? What will happen next? These are the very questions that Bissell thinks his viewers pose when confronted with his artwork, and seeking to answer it with the help of their own previous experiences, perhaps.

To this end Bissell sees his paintings as keys which ultimately provide the viewer with the necessary tools to unlock elements of their own experiences in life. Bissell suggests that they should live them anew, rather like viewing familiar landscapes of time and space from fresh vantage points: a well-known hillside seen from an unfamiliar outcrop of rock, or maybe a well-walked woodland path viewed from a distant bridge. Bissell draws reference and visual comparisons to the French writer, Marcel Proust who spent a lifetime absorbed with the concept of involuntary memory - those occasions when a certain activity or viewed object seems, involuntarily, to unlock a myriad of past experiences which are more vivid and real than would have been obtained had the viewer consciously tried to recollect the event. And with this in mind likes to imagine that his paintings have the power to similarly unlock past experiences.

Bissellís work has appeared in exhibitions at galleries throughout London and across the UK as a whole, whilst heís also showcased his individual and collective pieces as far afield as Los Angeles in America in recent years.

View All Art Works By Phillip Bissell