Jim Phalen - Seven Still Lifes, 2007 (detail) - Courtesy of Dolby Chadwick Gallery

Jim Phalen

January 2, 2016

Jim Phalen is an American contemporary artist born in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1957. He is well known for his still life paintings which most often present austere arrangements of simple objects.

Art by Jim Phalen

Jim Phalen - Facture #2, 2014 - Pomegranate and Spoon, 2014 - Six Pomegranates, 2011
Jim Phalen - Facture #2, 2014 / Pomegranate and Spoon, 2014 / Six Pomegranates, 2011

Jim Phalen received his BFA in Sculpture from San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, CA, in 1980; his MA in painting from University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM in 1985, and his MFA in Painting from University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, in 1986. He taught at the University of Washington, Seattle, WA, and at the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA. Phalen paints almost always from life. He studies the object for days before starting to paint, so he can be sure his works will be quite simple, yet very elegant.

Art by Jim Phalen

Jim Phalen - Artichoke, Tomatillos, Rhubarb, 2009 - January, 2009
Jim Phalen - Artichoke, Tomatillos, Rhubarb, 2009 / January, 2009

The paintings start with a thin layer of color, creating a sort of underpainting, which help the artist see if the elements will work together. In the early stage, pomegranate is a red-ish circle, for example. If the elements do work together, they are gradually transformed into something that is recognizable. The artist only paints what he finds to be paintable, as the essence of a flying bird or a moving car could never be truly captured and shown.

He is represented by Dolby Chadwick Gallery in San Francisco, USA.

Jim Phalen lives and works in Seattle, Washington.

All images courtesy of the artist.