Philip Swan
Forest Hills, New York

Philip Swan’s geometric compositions have a minimalist style, which contradicts the process in which they are created, and the way that Philip conceives of the work. He sometimes spends a month on an individual painting, building up layers of underpainting before he adds the black and white shapes on top of the painted lines. Modern geometric paintings typically have smooth, immaculate surfaces. Philips’s work reveals the history of the painting through the textured lines of the previous layers. This makes the paintings more intimate, leaving the mark of the artist as he pushed his way to the final composition. Additionally, the paintings have an architectural quality, and the black and white shapes create negative and positive spaces that allow the eye to adjust and see the piece in multiple ways. Philip explains that a painting is done when he has “striped it down to its essentials.”

Artist and Customer Comments

2016 C

Oil painting on stretched canvas
Signed on back

16" h x 20" w x 1" d
3 lbs. 0 oz.


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Artwork Details

Comments About This Piece

My works are inspired by geology and the idea of strata. This work is an abstracted mountain landscape with the chief compositional tension coming from the diagonal white line dividing the vertical stripes from the color blocks in the lower left. I wanted to contrast the texture of the underpainting, seen between the lines, with the saturated colors laid over it. While the overlaying forms are of a single color, the texture of the brushwork they overlay gives the surface of the work more visual interest and reinforces this idea of stratigraphy and layers in geology. This painting is on a gallery wrapped canvas with finished edges. It comes ready to hang. 

Oil painting

Oil paint uses natural oils, such as linseed, poppy and walnut oil to bind the pigments. Oils are slow to dry, which allows the artist to rework the painting to achieve the desired effect. Also, they blend easily, which helps to achieve certain colors. With the rise of naturalism in 15th century Early Netherlandish painting, oil paints became preferred to quick drying tempera paint. Artists wanted a medium that would allow them to achieve detailed and precise effects in their paintings. Consider all of the detail in the masterpieces of Jan van Eyck and Hieronymus Bosch!

Stretched canvas

Canvas is a heavy-duty fabric used as a painting surface. When a canvas artwork is labeled stretched, it means the canvas has been wrapped around a wooden frame (the ''stretcher''). Stretched canvases typically do not require framing.


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