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Phil Gross Biography
As a former geologist I spent a great deal of time studying and dissecting landscapes. That coupled with my experience in filmmaking and theater together inspire what ultimately ends up on my canvas. My compositions often contain re-occurring characteristics; low or high angle perspectives, compressed telescopic viewpoints, strong contrast in lighting, objects along the foreground (like a telephone pole) that draw you in by bracketing the edge (repoussoir) and a practice called “contre jour” meaning painting into or “against” the daylight. My goal is to bring a landscape forward, vertically stretch it, imbue it with saturated colors and drama so that you ‘the viewer’ feel you are standing in and surrounded by it rather than viewing it from afar. Its front row orchestra.”
In 2007 Gross was selected to be part of the prestigious “Yosemite Artist in Residence Program”. His work is displayed in the California State Capital representing district 5 and he regularly exhibits with Elliot Fouts Gallery, Natsoulas Gallery, Brigg’s Gallery and the Artery, all in northern California. Phil’s inspirations start with the French Impressionists, American painters Sargent, and Hopper, as well as contemporary Californian painters Thieibaud, Kondos and Tollefeson and Verkeet.
“Unlike other painters who choose to eliminate manmade objects from the picture plane, Gross puts in the stuff you always see: images of traffic signs, telephone poles, hale bales, irrigation ditches, railroad tracks and other imprints of human existence are depicted without a trace of any actual people. The effect is similar to Charles Scheeler’s paintings earlier in the century, but with more dramatic light and better color. What’s left is a lonely, quiet, introspective feel not unlike walking through an empty field at sunset.” Tim White, Sac News and Review 2003
In what seems like a previous lifetime, the late 70’s and early 80’s, Gross worked as an exploration geologist while dabbling seriously in both ceramics and dance. He directed and choreographed for the high-flying, short-lived Fly-By Night Dance Troupe.