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Debra Phillips

To Debra Phillips, disappearance is one of the most powerful aspects of our existence. How we deal with the contemporary condition of transience, the indeterminacy of the physical world, and photography as a physical space in which to place things in order to think about them or as a structure to critique the world, are ideas basic to much of Phillips’ work.

Phillips utilises the medium of photography as a form of inquiry into conditions of contemporary life and in doing so develops a varied visual and conceptual language in her work. She takes photographs in the world, stages or constructs photographs in a studio environment, copies photographs from collected sources (e.g. newspapers, prints and postcards), copies photographs from books, and photographs personal and museum archives and collections.

Her photographic practice is conceived and realised in two ways: the first is often exhibited as multi-part installations while her on-going project of accumulated ‘thinking photographs’ are single image works that in the future will comprise multi-volume publications. In 2004 Phillips combined these two forms of conceiving and making work for the exhibition One thing leads to another.

From the early 1990s Phillips has also worked across other media. Her sculptural works and artist books use the inherent characteristics of the photographic medium as a basis for three-dimensional forms, for example the sculptural works Sillage #1 (1993), Alphabet silhouettes (1995), Viva Voce (1999), and the artist books Index (1995) and Source (1999).

(Debra Phillips 2007)