Philippe Raphanel


  • Particles

    February 7–March 14, 1998

    In previous work, Vancouver-based artist Philippe Raphanel explored the poisonous and medicinal properties of plants and their use in experiments to find a cure for illnesses, such as the HIV virus. In his recent exhibition Particles, he similarly draws from the Canadian West Coast, its landscapes and its indigenous flora and fauna to construct a suggestively interior landscape. This particular installation consisted of two large, multi-paneled paintings, one with a light background and the other dark, which were positioned opposite each other in the gallery. These formal devices were integral to the installation aspect of the work and to the conceptual exploration of the cultural construction of binaries. In Particles, Raphanel offers a complicated and troubled look at nature and the natural which is informed by a subtext of the human body. Through aesthetics and allusions, Raphanel presents an abstract microcosm of the beautiful and the abject, blurring the use of nature and the body as sites of cultural inscription. Canadian writer/poet Peter Culley presented a reading of his work in conjunction with this exhibition.



    in May. As it unfolds

    spores are discharged.

    Tuft of rust wool

    above the fruiting pinae,

    shallow vase formed, flood

    the woods with golden light.

    Other osmundas, absence of the

    fertile fronds. Erect,

    curving outward,

    oblong – lanceolate; obtuse divisions

    taller than the sterile

    entire or toothed.

    Of the midrib, indusium delicate— —

    little fronds, ecstatic presence

    of the deeper woods.

    Arched across the rock – broken

    stream, carpeted with low;

    where precious red – cupped mosses

    stretch basswood overhead

    cliff which forms.

    Early meadow rue- —

    lobed and rounded leaflet

    crowds to the roadside

    moist hollows: fronds

    tremulous on their black

    chance to be driving

    by a bank overgrown,

    possessed by a tormenting love

    sadly state but firm;

    aloofness which adds

    haunts are dim.

    Summit of the slender,

    under margin of a lobe

    dotted with fragrant heaps.

    Entered the cool

    shade, beauty and luxuriance,

    rich green arched above

    rigid fruit clusters.

    Crown firmed rigid;

    by means of underground runners

    crawled under

    a tight board fence -—

    free veins with simple veinlets

    do not reach

    the midvein. Reflexed marginal

    rows of bright brown sporangia

    wedged in neighbouring

    crannies, sprang from limestone cliffs;

    so blended, with their rocky

    self – assurance at variance.

    Prostrate among the rocks

    rise the firm

    graceful crowns:

    conspicuously marginal

    fruit – dots, caudex covered by the bases —

    apex and the tips

    of its pinnules, plumes

    of departing summer,

    of the greenhouse.

    above the black leaf – mould

    immortal in the swamp herbage,

    centre shades away

    less chaffy stalks; mossy ledges

    above star – like stumps of decaying.

    A projecting shelf

    of bluish green;

    leathery, tapering,

    decayed at its tip

    a flower yet unnamed.

    Day count.

    Columbine flings out

    just uncurled

    roots of some great

    nodding blossom,

    among which the streams forces,

    flavoured with the essence

    once more.

    Fastened underneath

    into jagged, spreading —

    were it not for the difference

    twice to thrice – pinnate

    finally appear naked,

    early withering and exposing

    beneath a reflexed portion.

    Green takes on

    a dark heraldic eagle

    in a cross – section of the young stalk:

    does not wither away,

    grown by reason of the licking.

    Shall shellfish

    in the Andes at fourteen feet

    widely spreading at the summit?

    Reflexed edge, somewhat open

    borne in a continuous line;

    stout stalk, from the trunks

    somewhat lustrous —

    upward turning

    on their upper

    through the winter

    In the rocky woods

    having shiny scales

    convex; persistent

    along the roadside

    and in the wet,

    found in the tiniest

    its creeping rootstock rise.

    At times wear very light,

    standing brown and dry

    from early frosts —

    form midway

    in masses — in wet meadows

    inappropriateness, wavy – toothed

    divisions; berry – like bodies

    usually heart – shaped.

    Scattered on the lower surface

    shale, and conglomerate

    near limestone cliffs

    sprays of the bulblet

    turreted summits.

    Rigid grace, slim in crowded ranks,

    into moist ravines

    necessitates the twisting

    of its stalk. Shelves of shaded rocks:

    surprise — combination of delicacy,

    black stemmed

    under groups of red, with blackish

    and shining, silvery till maturity,

    base auricled;

    the tangle of wild

    close to the roadside fence.

    Of some amber – coloured brook

    the wild bergamot

    its swift noiseless flow.

    Uncurl in May —

    present a rather blotched

    delicacy, scarlet cluster,

    background. Of grain shine

    between umbrella – like Brakes:

    so recently unfolded texture

    seems a trifle.

    Close against the rails;

    as the curves and dimples,

    little undulations

    of the August wood’s border —

Talks & Events

  • Party, Catalogue Launch, Reading

    October 16, 1998

    Artspeak is proud to present the launch of Philippe Raphanel’s new catalogue “Particles” which features an essay and poetry by Peter Culley. In conjunction with the launch, Peter will be reading and we will be having a party.


  • Particles

    Title: Particles
    Category: Exhibition Catalogue
    Artist: Philippe Raphanel
    Writers: Peter Culley
    Editor: Jacqueline Larson
    Design: Roberta Batchelor
    Publisher: Artspeak
    Printer: S & T Stereo Printers
    Year published: 1998
    Pages: 28pp
    Cover: Paper
    Binding: Staple Bound
    Process: Offset
    Features: 7 colour images
    Dimensions: 23 x 16 x 0.2 cm
    Weight: 112 g
    ISBN: 0-921394-29-2
    Price: $4 CDN

    Culley produces a parallel essay to Raphanel’s exhibition Particles. Both practitioners have used the rich landscape of British Columbia as a departure point in their respective mediums. Also included is the poem “Fruit Dots” by Culley.

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