Bill Phelps: VISITOR at Robin Rice Gallery



A conversation with Bill Phelps is just like his photography: you don’t know where it will take you. I am deeply grateful for our conversations that have in time forged a special connection. The art of storytelling seems to be anew in our talks, as well as in his photography. I am honoured to have been invited to write a few words for his up-coming exhibition, VISITOR, which will open on September 27 at Robin Rice Gallery in New York.


“Through light and shadow, a gaze, a mindset, Bill Phelps’ fourth solo show at the Robin Rice Gallery, VISITOR, inspires the imagination. About life, about being, eye and heart his greatest companions, in images that breathe in their own atmosphere. A moment of pure sincerity, a world of surrealism, or suspended reality. It’s like a wondrous path in which spontaneity, intimacy and a truthful eye are at play time and again. You feel time passing, memories forming or coming to the surface, capturing the moment and its eternity with your mind’s eye, but also in his. The VISITOR projects this otherworldly image of someone in search of something more, a deeper understanding of life, or maybe a youthful appreciation of it, or maybe both. The captured quiet of the muse seen through the suspended focus of the 8×10 view camera, the nuance, the in-between, the gaze. Every human being is a poet, a dancer, a VISITOR. Bill Phelps’ portraits, whether it’s someone he may know or not, are not frozen captures of stillness at a moment in time, but surrender to chance occurrences, always. He creates a curiosity, it can often be an invitation. No hurried departure, no preconceived destination, just a perpetual search.

Everything is new. In the image “Rome Two”, 2021,a cityscape charged with intimacy, you listen to every step that has crossed the cobblestones before him, you envision every beam of light guiding him through the day to that very moment, anticipate what awaits beyond the dramatic halo of twilight, as the day’s memories start to unravel, you are aware of your senses and everything surrounding you as it happens only when you visit a place for the very first time. You want to feel what the photographer felt, and to go where he has been. The story is in what you see and in the unseen in equal measure. You are a witness, a believer, alive, a VISITOR.”


The opening reception will be held on Wednesday September 27th from 6pm to 8pm at 325 West 11th street, New York, NY 10014.

 The exhibition runs through November 26, 2023.




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