It is easy to dismiss Philip Barlow’s out-of-focus pictures as focusing gone wrong. But, the underlying message he conveys through these colourful, but blurred, pictures is certainly overwhelming, if not downright touching. He depicts the world seen through the eyes of people with specific eye problems, such as myopia or nearsightedness.
His paintings tellingly bring to fore the contrast between people with normal eyesight and those who can’t see clearly. Philip Barlow, a Cape Town-based artist, has created a series of blurred paintings that incredibly look like out-of-focus photographs. His hyper-realistic oil artwork presents the difficulties faced by people with blurred vision.
Barlow, who now resides with his family in Riebeek Kasteel, near Cape Town, started out with landscape painting. However, his ‘seen’ landscape, seen through the weak eyes of people without glasses touches another realm.
According to Barlow, he doesn’t intend to portray his work as surreal but wants it to be acknowledged as something curiously familiar and convincingly real. Asked about his inspiration to present such a work, he says, “To me, light is the ultimate subject because it embodies the pinnacle of all reality.”
Barlow has earned a diploma in Graphic Fine Art from Port Elizabeth Technikon, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, where he delved in printing, stained glass and photography. He developed his talent travelling all across Europe, where he created portraits, murals, ceiling paintings and drawings. He also held numerous exhibitions in several cities in South Africa and Europe.
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