Philip Herbison

Strata #2
(37″x49″; painted wood pieces on wood panel)

Philip Herbison
Stowe, Vermont


I work mostly with recuperated wood, found objects, and acrylic paint. One way to describe what I do would be to say I’m like a puzzle maker who creates the pieces first without having a set plan of what the final work is going to look like.

The choices I make are intuitive and made mostly for aesthetic reasons. This allows me freedom to explore, unfettered, some new visual idea for no particular reason other than wondering where it might take me and what I might discover in the process.

Recently, I’ve been working with shifting planes using angular shapes and textured surfaces of colored pieces of wood. I bring these pieces together in ways that seem natural, familiar, and yet unexpected.

Recognizing and then refining relationships whether sculpturally or in a painterly way so that it does not demand, but holds one’s attention and brings something new and un-nameable to the viewer as a result, like finding beauty in the banal … this is my intention and my purpose as an artist.


Two years following my BA degree in Film Production at San Francisco State University in 1968, I went to London, England where I was enrolled in a two-year program of technical training in film production. During my time there I was awarded first prize for an animated film in a juried competition sponsored by Visions Associates of New York City.

Following my time in England, I moved to Montreal where I became immersed into the Francophone culture of Quebec and worked as a cameraman, lighting director, and eventually a filmmaker for a period of 25 years.

During that time, I spent my free time painting and had my first solo exhibition in 1978. The subject matter evolved from a video production where I used three hidden cameras to capture the faces of people on a city bus. I used freeze-frames from reel-to-reel black and white video as models for the portraits I painted of these passengers. The exhibition was a big success and encouraged me to continue working.

In 1982, I was accepted into the masters program of fine arts at the Université du Québec à Montréal and obtained my MFA in 1984. I had several exhibitions following this time including one in New York City at the “49th Parallel” gallery in a group show representing Canadian artists.

In 1989, I embarked on a film production of my own and with the help of two grants from the Canada Council for the Arts, I completed shooting of a documentary film about the loss of my childhood contact with the animal world. My research and shooting took me into the realm of shadowy psychological relations that exist between humans and animals.

With additional grants for post-production from the National Film Board of Canada, the film was completed in 1994, and in 1995, it won a first prized at the San Francisco International Film Festival. That same year it won several other awards and was purchased by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

In 1992, I married a woman from Vermont and began living on both sides of the border while teaching at Concordia University in Montreal and resuming my work as a studio artist. I had my first solo show in Vermont at the Tegu Gallery in Morrisville. It was entitled “Child’s Play” and included both painting and assemblages.

Since then I have been working steadily as an artist in Stowe and have been showing my work regularly including a second solo show at the Supreme Court Gallery in Montpelier in 2009.


(802) 253-1925
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Inclinations #2
(16″x14″; painted wood pieces on wood panel)

Strata #4
(40″x39″; painted wood pieces on wood panel)

Side Hill
(12.5″x13.5″; painted wood pieces on wood panel)

(21″x19″; painted wood pieces on wood panel)