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Philip Trusttum's Visual Vocabulary
In 1980 Gordon H. Brown curated "Philip Truttum Selected Works 1962-
The following are selected sections of his essay.
"In a way Trusttum's paintings can be likened to pages from a notebook of personal experiences. Although they are the product of specific events and personal involvements, Trusttum has the ability to maintain a sufficient distance between these experiences and what finally appears in the paintings for the impartial scrutiny a public who must interpret them as they will. In this way Trusttum's visual vocabulary escapes the intimacy of its origins to enter a realm that edges on timelessness."
"In Trusttum's paintings and drawings there exists a ploygot of influences, some reasonably identifiable, others only accessible through discussion with the painter. For the most par tit is less a case of which artists have influenced Trusttum so much as what face the has chosen to glean from other artists work in order to turn this to his own personal purposes. A study of artists like Matisse, Miro, Pollock or Ellsworth Kelly may initiate some line of thought that, during the artistic process of being redefined and put to use in Trusttum's own painting, can lose much of the stylistic characteristics inherent in the work from which this process of assessment originated."
In a simplified abstraction of his career to 1980 Brown identified eight possible phases:
1972 Three dimensional constructions, large, combined with other objects. Trusttum spent three months in France, and became interested in van Gogh's paintings
1979 Larger scale paintings
Style and Signature: The Paintings of Philip Trusttum by Peter Leech (Selected sections)
"...a richness of artistic personality"
"To study a Trusttum painting is to reconfirm our, and his, humanity: to feel party to turbulence's of feeling, to urgent desires to command the existential profusion and confusion, to the necessity of depressing those haunting eruptions of the soul, to the need reflectively to contain ourselves."
"The paintings of Philip Trusttum interestingly escape both the conceptual dislocation and the artistic dispossession. For what is centrally true of Trusttum's art over the years is that it has never become bound to anything recognisable as a Trusttum style. There is no disindividuating stylistic epiphenomenon associable with Trusttum's paintings; and so, quite markedly, there is no opportunity for others to paint in Trusttum's style, to paint like Trusttum."
".....It is not style which prevails, one wants to say, but signature. And perhaps -
"What is the personality of these Trusttum paintings? Well, I suggest, there is first what we call ‘warmth' of personality -
"There is the glorious carnival whirl of ideas and thoughts as you witness a mind turning excitedly one way, then suddenly taking a surprising direction another: an intoxicating tumble of conversation in the way the paintings speak to us."
"And there is a generosity of spirit: these huge embracing canvases know nothing of that taunt and tense etiquette which so often constrains us socially: they seem, rather, like big visual hugs offered spontaneously. The paintings have a personality which is, in a word, engaging. There is nothing cold here, nothing aloof, nothing pompous, nothing pretentious."