Get to know the artists of ‘B18: Wiregrass Biennial’ – Part 4

WMA asked several of the 41 artists whose work is currently on display in B18: Wiregrass Biennial to answer questions about their artistic practice. Get to know them better during the next few posts here on the #wmaINSPIRED blog.

Jacob Phillips – Dothan, Alabama

Suspended Memory, 2018
Spanish moss, cheese cloth, paint, wire, audio

WMA: Tell us about your work in B18.

Suspended Memory is part of a series in which I am exploring the ideas of soundscapes, nature, and form. This work spawns from a memory of an environment that once engulfed my presence. As time goes by and memories are warped, my memory has transformed the figures that I encountered within the swampland. It is as the landscape absorbed their form. With this installation, the viewer may experience a glimpse of time where I encountered moments of tranquility, reflection, preservation, memory, and growth. Suspended Memory also explores the idea of sensory art. In my current studio practice, I am exploring the actions we have when we use our five senses. With this series of soundscapes, I am using sound to provoke the experience the viewer has with the installation.

WMA: What is your experience working with WMA? Have you shown work at the museum before? How did you hear about the exhibition?

The Wiregrass Museum of Art has been a part of my life since I was in middle school. I grew up in Dothan until moving off to the University of Alabama at Birmingham in 2013. I moved back to Dothan after receiving my Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2017. Stacey Holloway and I were invited to share our interactive installation Magnifying Moments at the 2017 Yard Party for Art. In October of 2017, my first solo museum exhibition, Gravitation, opened in the Blumberg Gallery at the museum. The museum has been extremely generous and encouraging of my career as an artist during my transition to graduate school. I was chosen to join the team of mentors for the 2018 Art Box, assisted on installs of both the Alabama Reckoner and B18 exhibitions, and was shown tremendous support during the installation process of the Dothan Rotary Club Mural.

Two guests experience Magnifying Moments at WMA’s 2017 Yard Party for Art

WMA: Do you often participate in juried group shows like the B18? Why or why not?

In my studio practice, when I apply to juried exhibitions I look at the venue and the juror before sending in my applications. I enjoy participating in juried exhibitions due to the fact that there is a variety of artwork that gets accepted into a show such as the B18.

WMA: How long have you been making art? Did you grow up in a school system with a strong arts program? Did someone in particular encourage you to develop your practice?

I have been making artwork for eight years. Fun fact- I didn’t start producing artwork until I started attending classes at Wallace Community College.

WMA: In your opinion, why is it important for communities (both large and small) to have a thriving arts community? Have you chosen to move to a town because of its support of the arts/artists?

I believe that if a community wants to thrive, it needs to support its arts community. The arts are all around us. Supporting local makers, designers, fine artists, musicians etc. is what makes a community grow. Just as any business, an artist needs the support from their community and its leaders. I recently moved from Dothan, Alabama to Denton, Texas to pursue my Masters in Fine Arts in Sculpture at the University of North Texas. Moving to an area just north of Dallas, I immediately feel the effect that the support for the arts has on a community. Denton’s art community receives its support from many sources located on their doorsteps. My wish for every community both large and small is that you show your love to the art that surrounds you and your community and give it the support it deserves.

WMA: Where do you find inspiration? What (Who) has the most influence on the art you make?

Getting in the car, I drive to a place filled with an abundance of nature, I detach from technology, and with sketchbook in hand, I walk until I feel as if there is a sense of harmony that consumes me. Nature, vigorous textures, driftwood, observation of people and their patterns, form, barnacles, wind and water currents, memory, bird personalities, these are things that inspire me. Artists Nick Cave, Claire Morgan, Ruth Asawa, Kendra Haste, and Tim Hawkinson influence me.

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Outside of tours, family days, and open house events, individuals who are not enrolled in a class are not allowed in WMA classrooms except by written permission of the Executive Director. Parents may not join children in the classroom during instruction times in order to ensure an atmosphere conductive to creativity. It is important to limit the number of adults to keep the focus on the kids, their learning, and to accommodate limited seating in the studio. Parents are welcome to stay in the museum during class but must remain outside of the classroom during instruction time.

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