Phil Rabovsky (b. 1987, Moscow, USSR) is a painter with roots in philosophy, cultural theory and linguistics. After graduating from Columbia University in 2009 with a degree in Art, Philosophy, and Linguistics, he lived for a time in Budapest, Hungary before resettling to Brooklyn. He is currently pursuing his MFA in Art Practice at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, where he is expanding into printmaking, installation, and video. Seeing grammar everywhere he goes, Phil's work explores the intersection between language, bodies, art, and power.
Phil is a member of Shoestring Press in Brooklyn, where he teaches classical painting techniques and has exhibited in two-person shows with printmaker Lane Sell. Recent collaborations between Phil and Lane include Too Late: The European Can^non is Here (curated by Madeleine Boucher), and The Model and Her Artist. He has participated in group exhibits at Shoestring and other venues around Brooklyn and Manhattan, including an upcoming show at SVA's Chelsea Gallery. Phil has been involved as an organizer in a number of artist-led initiatives in Brooklyn, including drawing circles, open critiques, and panel discussions. He is currently developing a series of video interviews with under-the-radar artists called Notes from Underground. Phil's work has been featured in Brooklyn Magazine and Word: An Anthology, a publication of A Gathering of the Tribes.
Although the humanist values of the Renaissance may have little place in an age of computers and bio-engineering, everywhere today we see the return of older forms of cultural practice. From locally grown organic foods, to constructivist/industrial chic decor, to a new emphasis on skill and craftsmanship in art, these reversions are being marketed to us as the return of the real from post-industrial exile. In my work, I try to get hold of this “real” in the arena of painting, and understand why it is always, already, and still here. Some of my works are purely critical of the old master tradition, seeing in it roots of authoritarianism or oppressive gender norms. Others are more optimistic, trying to recapture the humanist faith in the body and the light of reason. Most are ambivalent, wavering between skepticism, hope, and desperation.