Phillip McCrum


Various paint, orange shellac on wood — 1997

The following series appeared in the exhibition Tear, at the Or gallery in Vancouver.

Each panel represents one year in the decade of the 80’s, all simulacrum of abstraction and expression that point to lost memory and death.

"Each of these paintings is given a year for a title, beginning in 1980 and ending in 1989. They comprise the decade from which McCrum and many of the writers in this catalogue graduated from art school, the decade when the community this catalogue represents was formed, and the decade to which these paintings were derided as being ‘still of’ by a younger generation of artists. Except these works are not nostalgic, nor are they a retreat. In their acidic re-emergence as shit these paintings are a digestive act of remembrance. McCrum isn’t resuscitating a style of paint treatment, but rather investigating the persistence of its meaning, and his meaning’s repression. The obvious pleasures evident in their surface are underscored by the knowledge of the painting’s stylistic datedness. But rather than return as style, as inept cool, MCCrum examines its potential for meaning, questioning at what cost we have forgotten, abandoned and erased the just past. Remembrance in McCrum’s work is easily conflated with a political and personal responsibility. Forgetting and moving on can be an act of betrayal.”

— Reid Shier, “The Uncertainty Vice-Principle”, in Tear exhibition catalogue, 2000