Terri Phillips at TOPS Gallery

by - May 09, 2013


Opening   Friday May 10th 6-8pm

TOPS is pleased to announce CHAPEL OF YES, an installation byTerri Phillips.

Terri Phillip's work uses abstract narrative to explore history, memory, meaning and identity. Reflecting her life in Los Angeles and her childhood in the South, Phillip's Chapel of Yes is a confluence of the Light and Space tradition of California and also the Southern vernacular. The uncanny compounding of the phenomenal and the spiritual place equal importance on both site and place.

Concomitantly modern and ancient, Chapel of Yes formally references James Turrell's skyspaces, catacombs, geometric abstraction, and the early underground churches that existed before the Edict of Milan. Chapel of Yes evolved as both a response to the Tops space and as an attempt to create a mental space from a previous life in Memphis. Phillips recounts "There was a small chapel on Poplar Avenue near my parents house when I was growing up. After I got my drivers license I used to go there on my own. It was never locked and no one else was ever there. I developed a deep relationship with that space. It was torn down several years ago."

Considering a chapel, as a rough idea of meditative space, Chapel of Yes transfigures the subterranean Tops gallery by creating an immersive environment consisting of a baptismal tank with a live catfish, a set of geometrically abstracted steps based on the pattern from a Gees Bend quilt, a pew large enough for two people to sit close and a stalactite/stalagmite paraffin wax sculpture. The coal chute that leads from the south end of the space to the street above has been silver leafed, transforming it into a reflective slab that projects light from the outside world. A special silver chain sculpture will be on view in the anteroom next to the gallery and offered in an edition of seven.

Terri Phillips is a sculptor and writer who also makes short films, photographs and performances.
Born in Alabama, Phillips received her masters degree from CalArts after studying at Beaux-Arts in Paris and Pepperdine University.  She was a founding member of the artist collaborative space WPA in Chinatown.  She has exhibited and curated internationally.  Phillips performed last year at DanceSpace Project in NY and her show of sculpture A Little Sugar in My Bowl opened earlier this year at TransitSpace in Los Angeles. Chapel of Yes will be Phillips' first solo exhibition in Memphis. In the Fall, she will show new work at University of Memphis ArtLab. She is currently living and working in Memphis.  


Tops Gallery is located at 400 South Front Street, Memphis, Tennessee (basement level, entrance on Huling), and is open Saturday from 1-6pm and by appointment . 

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