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Artist Phillip Faulkner Is Open to Your Interpretation of His Art

Mackenzie Martin / WXPR
Artist Phillip Faulkner at the opening reception for his exhibit, Layers, at ArtStart Rhinelander in June.

A unique art exhibit has been the focus at ArtStart Rhinelander since May. Layers by artist Phillip Faulkner is on display through Saturday, August 10th.

The exhibit combines appropriated imagery with original work and the artist behind it says he's open to any and all interpretations you might have of it.

Mackenzie Martin has this report from the opening reception in June.




The current exhibit at ArtStart Rhinelander through August 10th is called Layers and features 60+ works on display, ranging from traditional works on paper to a looping video piece.

In June, artist Phillip Faulkner came to the opening reception and in an interview with Ken Krall, he talked about the exhibit and his work in general.

Credit Courtesy of Phillip Faulkner
A video still taken from a video by artist Phillip Faulkner on display at ArtStart Rhinelander through August 10th.

“Collage is probably the best description of my work and whether it’s moving, like video pieces, or it’s static, like a painting or a drawing, it’s really rooted in the way that I actually construct the image,” he says. “The reason I enjoy and like collage is because it allows for so many sources to be combined.”

Faulkner says that by using something old that might be familiar to create something new, it “allows for entry, but also exploration of something foreign.”

Something that’s unique about Faulkner is how open he is to different interpretations of his art.

“The only thing I really have full control over is the way that something looks, but the way it’s interpreted… I welcome all interpretations,” he says. “Because some of those sources that have been found, appropriated, reconfigured, recontextualized might strike a chord with someone on another layer, a deeper layer, maybe nostalgia or a memory that’s specific to them.”

And it’s true, those attending the opening reception at ArtStart had a lot to say about the exhibit.

Credit Mackenzie Martin / WXPR Public Radio
Art by Phillip Faulkner from the exhibit Layers at ArtStart Rhinelander through August 10th.

“I like these because their faces are sky, not nose, mouth, eyes… but they’re very expressive,” says Nancy Richmond. “I mean this guy… it looks to me like a Soviet official eating a Big Mac.”

Lynn Richie and Carol Sweet spent time puzzling over a collage of a tree that featured all four seasons.

Credit Mackenzie Martin / WXPR
Art by Phillip Faulkner from the exhibit Layers at ArtStart Rhinelander through August 10th.

“When you step forward and really take it apart, you see all of the different elements,” says Sweet. “They look like they fit together… but they don’t go together."

Meanwhile in another gallery, Judi Linder was looking at a wall of original artworks that all had a matching pair somewhere else on the wall. A self-published zine by Faulkner accompanies the artwooks in this gallery and is available for purchase.

“This one on the far left and this one on the fair right are a pair,” she says. “But they weren’t hung that way, which makes it even more interesting.”

Patty Fitzpatrick sums up Faulkner’s works by saying she tends to think in stories and that “art like [Faulkner’s] requires a really close look to really think about what it is.”

Phillip Faulkner’s exhibit Layers will be atArtStart at 68 S Stevens St. in Rhinelander through Saturday, August 10th. Gallery hours are 11am-5pm Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

Phillip Faulknerreceived his Master of Fine Arts degree in electronic media from the University of Denver, where he lives and works. He currently teaches digital arts at the Denver Center for International Studies-Montbello. Falkner has taught courses in art, design and technology at numerous universities, and served as Area Head of Studio Arts at Finlandia University in northern Michigan. He has exhibited work nationally at institutions including Center for Visual Arts in Denver, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska, VersionFest in Chicago and numerous other galleries and venues. 

Funds for this story are provided by the Northern Arts Council. This story was written and produced for radio by Mackenzie Martin using an interview from Ken Krall. Music for this story came from Blue Dot Sessions: Waterbourne and Sylvestor by Blue Dot Sessions (www.sessions.blue).

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