The Art of Observation: Paintings by Phil Sandusky

*This article was originally published in the New Orleans Art Review 2007-2008

The Art of Observation: New Paintings by Phil Sandusky at Cole Pratt Gallery by Saskia Ozols

“The idea can be known only through the representation of perception” (Schopenhauer, the World as Will and Representation)

The term aesthetics comes from the Greek aisthanomai, which means perception through means of the senses. Sandusky’s aesthetic concentrates on perception as directly translated through the sense of sight, based on the natural 60 degree cone of vision and its peripheral hierarchy of atmospheric perspective. His paintings present an individualized perception which initiates an important dialogue about the current landscape of New Orleans. His daily paintings, all done from direct observation, en plein air, document the city’s utter devastation, rapidly disappearing landmarks, and on-going re-birth.

Despite the tragic nature of this truth, his paintings offer a quiet and sublime solace and attest to the power and far reaching voice of a work of art. This body of work can’t be divorced from his latest book, Painting Katrina, and both are of historic relevance. Not just because of his vision, his perseverance in his discipline, his important artistic lineage, his contributions to the visual arts community of New Orleans, but because their combination expands the already immense cultural relevance of New Orleans in the broader context of American art history.

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