Phillip Mark Anthony Thomas was born in Kingston Jamaica on February 20, 1980. He received his BFA in 2003 at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts. At this institution he received the Albert Huie Award for Painting at the end of his four-year study. He subsequently received an MFA from the New York Academy of Art. He received two educational scholarships in support of his MFA: a CHASE fund grant and a grant from the Cobb Family Foundation. Phillip is currently completing a postgraduate Fellowship.
Phillip Thomas has been involved in several group shows such as the Super Plus Under 40 Artist of the Year exhibition and competition, where he received the Public’s award, and the 2008 Jamaica National Biennial, at the NGJ, where he was awarded the Aaron Matalon award.
Phillip Thomas manufactures cultural reliquaries, consisting of artifacts and social curiosities that represent the cultural tapestry of the Caribbean and the wider “New World”, using media and other agents of the Old World. The “old master” painting style and the large, conventional painting formats are not used for the sake of the representation per se but as artifacts of art history. Hence the entire object produced (consisting of stretcher bars, frames, oil paints, Phillip Thomas and all the other elements and media that make up such objects) is a manifestation of an archeological response to agents of the Old World as well as products of the new. This allows for a kind of meta-discourse between the originals and derivatives of Western art history which speaks to the nature of colonialism and its aftermath. Even my decision to study at the New York Academy of Art, a traditionalist “French Academy” in the United States, is rooted in my interest in cross-cultural pollination. My work is concerned with specific Old World cultures that are relevant to the Caribbean, predominantly the English, the French and the Spanish. Each of these cultures is reflected in the body of works presented. “Master Copies” of Turner, Ribera and sections of Velazquez’ paintings are fused into the discourse of my paintings, not as mere hints of artistic influence but also as cultural relics.