Phil James’ sophomore exhibition at Kings Cross space Alaska Projects features a collection of works that were completed during the artist’s month-long residency at Red Gate Gallery in China. Phil James is a master of the daubism technique – essentially the re-working of or intervention within a pre existing artwork, somewhat similar to painting a moustache on the Mona Lisa. This show at Alaska features bits and pieces that James found during his travels through China restored, reworked and brought back to life in his characteristically humorous and irreverent style.
The piece I’d give it all for just a little bit more is a large white enamel and fibre glass creature with a human skull beneath its paw, there are two light pieces in moulded plastic, as well as a suite of drawings that James claims were narrowed down from hundreds he discovered, discarded and forgotten in a tip beside an art school in China where he had been swapping art classes for ping pong lessons.
James’s voyage was a part of a two-month program to celebrate the year of Australian culture in China. We travelled alongside a group of six other Australian Indigenous and emerging artists who shared the opportunity to meet local contemporaries, participate in forums and debates, tour art studios and art districts and generally immerse themselves in Chinese art and culture.
This collection of James’s work is undeniably ironic, particularly set against the backdrop of the Alaska car park space.
Phil James in China run until August 19 at Alaska Projects.