The lifesized, realistic portraits crafted by Joel Daniel Phillips currently inhabit the Fort Wayne Museum of Art in the new exhibition “Charcoal Testament.” With pencil and charcoal, the artist’s subjects have moved between the impoverished and the reality and the aftermath of nuclear testing near the Western coast.
On his reasons for focusing his efforts in drawing: “My process is inherently about labor, and against the modern backdrop of instant, image-driven gratification, I have found the physical process involved in the painstaking, craft-driven and anachronistic rendering of a subject or a moment to be ever more important,” the artist says. “The rigorous, meditative labor of observation through draughtsmanship is a means to an end. This end being, for me, a deeper and richer understanding of the world around me and the complexity of its histories.”
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The exhibition runs through May 12 at the museum. At the opening of the exhibition, the artist’s new video work was featured in a performance piece, with accompanying music from composer Rafaël Leloup. See that below, as well as more works from the show.