Through July 8
by Elt John
Given that the world’s population has recently surpassed seven billion, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Philip Durst, the Austin-based collage artist who pops up when you google “Philip Durst Austin” is different from Philip Durst, the Austin-based lawyer whose work focuses on civil rights and employment law. A quick glance at the oeuvre of the former, however, reveals a different story: among the quotidian detritus that Durst repurposes into lively, colorful collages—materials like Starbucks cups, plastic cutlery, and Dum Dums wrappers—you’ll find scraps of paper excised from old law textbooks. Case closed!
Philip Durst’s new work is on view in a solo exhibition at Davis Gallery called “Repo Man.” Despite the menacing intimations of the show’s name, the exhibition hopes to convey a sense of fun and optimism. Working with the mundane byproducts of everyday life, Durst creates geometric, colorful, and satisfyingly precise collages, quilt-like in appearance. “Such a tremendous amount of artistic talent, choice, and color goes into such ephemeral packaging,” he says, “That I like to preserve their beauty and vibrance.” Even as he transforms disposable materials into art, he doesn’t completely obfuscate their workaday origins, resulting in works that are not simply pleasant to look at, but they also muse upon, and challenge, our assumptions about the disposability of such objects.
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Read more from the Neighborhoods Issue | June 2017