By Breanna Suden 

›› From the high walls of NYC galleries to Main St. of Ridgefield, works of art from the renowned art scene of the city will be accessible to anyone out for a walk through town. Haitian-born modern artist Guy Stanley Philoche has been painting in his Harlem studio for over 20 years. Philoche gained notoriety for his debut work — the acclaimed abstract “Untitled Series,” composed of paintings that feature blocks of color contained within thick black lines, giving a geometric grid to his work. Each painting is finished with a thick glossy varnish, as Philoche encourages viewers to physically touch the work and feel the layering, creating a journey into the senses.

Following “Untitled Series,” Philoche’s work began to adopt a more modernist view. Breaking free from the traditional abstract form, his next series, “Game Series” features canvas that is individually textured with cracks, dents, and tears, complemented by its own unique distressed color palate. Reminiscent of the board games worn from the use of Philoche and his family, the series communicates directness without explanation.

In “Come Fly With Me,” Philoche experimented with lush surfaces inspired by the buildup of city walls, thick with traces of wheat-pasted posters, advertisements, and graffiti. In this series, Philoche played with the symbolism of paper airplanes made from collaged reproductions of dollars zipping across the canvas, leaving swirling trails behind them in great looping gestures. From the simplistic use of $100 and $2 dollar bills folded into the form of butterflies that momentarily land on round canvases draw attention to currency’s status as an abstract sign, with no inherent material value once detached from its system of circulation.

In modernist literature, the individual is more interesting than society. Philoche incorporated this concept into his “No Comment Series,” which pushes the boundaries of confrontation. The inspiration behind the series stems from Philoche’s commitment to human rights issues and how prejudice against women remains a significant problem. The women have ambiguous faces to encourage the female viewer to see herself in the paintings and the tape across their mouths is a visual reminder that their voices are still silenced in fear of repercussions for speaking their truths. The paintings are meant to support and help raise awareness of the critical issues that affect women without a voice.

Fast forward to 2020 when COVID-19 began to ravage the globe. “Remembering Your Innocence” was created during the height of the pandemic and evokes nostalgia and hope through the combination of abstraction, realism, and popular culture. Philoche created his own versions of cherished characters from his childhood and combined them with textured surfaces reminiscent of the walls of New York City, thick with fragments of posters and graffiti overlaid with vibrant blocks of color. During the same timeframe, the Black Lives Matter movement gained traction across the country, changing the direction of the paintings to innocence and social change, resulting in what Philoche calls
rEVOLution, his most recent body of work. 

As the city of New York began to shut down, the art community was strongly affected. Art fairs were canceled, galleries closed their doors and an artist’s stream of income was gone. Having always committed to purchasing a painting whenever he sells a painting, Philoche posted an Instagram video to his fellow artists sharing he was looking to purchase as much artwork as possible and encouraged viewers to send him their work.

Since then, Philoche has purchased $250,000 worth of artwork from over 250 artists to create what he calls The Philoche Collection. For the first time in Connecticut, Philoche will bring together artists from the collection to exhibit in a co-curated opening by Philoche and Dee Dee Perrone Colabella, owner and director of the RPAC Gallery and RPAC Art Center and Academy in Ridgefield, CT. The Beyond Limits exhibition will open for one month from September 17th to October 17th, with an invite-only reception on September 16th.

Featuring

Guy Stanley Philoche

Also:

Larry Stewart

Roddy Wildeman

Robert Peterson

Ronnie Rob

Leigh Brooklyn

Ani and Andrew Abakumovs

Sam Tufnell

Heather Haynes

Gregg Emery

Will Woodrow

Fernando DaSilva

Michael Shannon

Gregory Saint Amand

Alissa Cahillane

Daniel Wade Barrett

Charles Gulbrandsen

Meredith Mulhearn

Gail Buggy

View artists work at 
www.dcolabellafineart.com

Philoche is currently represented by Cavalier Gallery with locations across Greenwich, CT, Nantucket, MA, New York, NY and Palm Beach, FL. n