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Isla Phillips

Isla is a Classicist and lover of learning about art. She recently moved to London, having spent a year in Japan after graduating from the University of Cambridge.

Stories By Isla Phillips

  • 20th century

    Demystifying Cycladic Figurines

    By October 9, 2019

    Cycladic figurines have a mythical aura. Their gleaming abstract forms speak of timeless beauty. But what actually are they? Why do they look like a Brancusi sculpture (or why do Brancusi sculptures look like them)? Once...

  • 20th century

    Joseph Beuys at BASTIAN Gallery

    By October 1, 2019

    Joseph Beuys (1921 – 1986), currently on display at BASTIAN gallery, was a controversial German artist, whose work regularly caused public debate. Ritual and unorthodox materials, in particular animal fat and felt, characterize his wide-ranging artistic...

  • 21st century

    Damien Hirst’s Butterflies- from Tea-trays to Mandalas

    By September 24, 2019

    Damien Hirst – a prominent Young British Artist (YBAs) and now a billionaire – creates sculptures, paintings and drawings. In all of these forms his work challenges the boundaries between art, science and religion. Mandalas is...

  • Ancient Greece

    Venus Vincit Omnia. Venus in Art

    By September 9, 2019

    Venus (also known by her Greek name Aphrodite) is the Goddess of Love. We’ve explored some famous Venus’ here. Next, Velázquez’s portrait put her onto the list of contenders for “Best Bums in Art.” Then there’s...

  • Artists' Stories

    The Poetry in Painting — Turner’s Ovid in Exile

    By August 26, 2019

    This petite (9.46 x 12.50 cm) oil on canvas by J.M.W. Turner contains big things: big landscapes, big stories and big skies. It is an imagined scene from 1st century Rome: the departure of Ovid into...

  • 21st century

    An Introduction to Lee Ufan

    By August 21, 2019

    Lee Ufan is a Korean born international artist, whose work is key to the Mono-ha movement. If you have ever been lucky enough to encounter a Lee Ufan in real life you will appreciate its power...

  • 21st century

    Nalini Malani – an Introduction

    By August 8, 2019

    Nalini Malani (b. 1946) is a brilliant contemporary Indian artist. She is both prolific and internationally acclaimed. “Over an extended career, Malani has been an unremitting voice for the silenced and the dispossessed, most particularly women...

  • Art History 101

    Logomania – Words in Art

    By August 1, 2019

    What do Jean-Michel Basquiat, The François Vase, Tracey Emin and Xu Bing have in common? Words! So, in the spirit of light summer reading, let’s have a romp through a collection of four unrelated artworks from...

  • 21st century

    Thawan Duchanee: “Paintings Are a Way of Expressing Feelings Without Any Explanation”

    By July 30, 2019

    Thawan Duchanee (1939-2014) was a painter, sculptor and architect from Chiang Rai, northern Thailand. He is Thailand’s most celebrated artist. Duchanee gained popularity not just through his provocative (and beautiful) depictions of Buddhism, but also because...

  • 21st century

    Tracey Emin – My Bed

    By July 29, 2019

    My Bed is an iconic and seminal artwork by British artist Tracey Emin. It was conceived over 20 years ago. Despite its age it is still one of contemporary art’s most striking depictions of vulnerability. It...

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