Phil Darrah, "Trafalgar," acrylic on canvas, 100.5" X 68.75".
PHIL DARRAH, Representation
Peter Robertson Gallery, Edmonton
May 8 to 27, 2008
By Amber Bowerman
Tragedy and travel in the late 1990s had a profound impact on the work of painter Phil Darrah. Following the death of his mother and a move south of Edmonton to an acreage at Mulhurst Bay, and in the midst of making preparations for a working-trip to Greece, Darrah sat back and took stock of his role as an abstract painter. The shifts in his work since — most notably from highly symbolic stripes, blocks and orbs to more literal landscapes — marked one leg of his artistic journey. In Representation, viewers will see where Darrah has journeyed next, though there’s little fear that he’ll have strayed too far from his abstract roots. “Ultimately I want my paintings to have poetic rather than literal references,” Darrah told the Edmonton Journal in 2005. “While it’s not important that viewers always get the references, it’s important for me that they are there.” Retired from teaching at the University of Alberta since 2003, Darrah has much more time to explore the shifts in his own work and surroundings. “For the first time I’m in the studio every day without too much distraction,” he told the Journal. “As one gets older you start to notice change, while before you were too busy fretting at the university with the arcane ideas of education.”
Represented by: Peter Robertson Gallery, Edmonton; Sopa Fine Arts, Kelowna