A local artist, Philip Barlow has created a series of hyper-realistic art pieces that represent the chaos, beauty and unknown of life, sending viewers on an emotional and mental journey as they gaze at his work.

Barlow resides in one of the oldest small towns in South Africa and is situated 80 kilometers out of Cape Town. Barlow has called Riebeck Kasteel home for four years, is 49 years of age, has two children and is happily married.

His art has been displayed in London and has now made its way to Cape Town at the Everard Gallery.

Series of artworks

The paintings created by Barlow appear as out of focus photographs at first glance but as you look closer, the gentle hand strokes and fine details of the oil painting are clear to see.

His unique ability to re-create what our eyes see as we adjust to the sunlight is magical.

Philip Barlow

Barlow often heads out into the public to capture moments he may find beauty in using his camera.

“On a day, when I am seeking inspiration and head out with my camera, I don’t know what I am going to find and I trust I will find something beautiful to work with.”

When asked about the muse and inspiration that fueled Barlow to create the pieces, he depicts the main contributor as the ‘unknown beauty of life’.

“I find an enormous amount of  beauty and the slight abstraction that takes place when one takes a photograph of a scene in an out of focus way creates abstraction and has such beauty in the mystery and is an analogy of life” he said.

Philip Barlow

Barlow’s inspiration stems from his desire to capture the essence of life and since it’s conception in 2003 he has been refining his current style of artwork to achieve this.

“We so often think that we have things worked out and yet life is mysterious in so many ways, there is a beauty in that mystery as often its the unknown and we struggle to deal with it but within that abstraction we are held by a great amount of design and detail.”

Philip Barlow

Life has many twists and turns that we cannot foresee but somehow we manage to see what lies ahead even if it may be a mere outline.

As an artist, Barlow attempts to bring this concept into his work as he explains that although the paintings may appear unclear one is still able to determine the shapes and gather an idea of what is going on in the image.

“If you look at my paintings you can still determine the shapes and make out what is in the image as there is a strong sense of design although it may not be determined.” he explained.

Philip Barlow

The local public has been supportive of Barlow’s pieces and although the community of art collectors are small in South Africa in relation to the rest of the world, they are very supportive in the art scene and committed to art.

“The South African public has been incredibly supportive of my work ” explains Barlow



These powerful pieces of work can be viewed at the Everard Read gallery, located near the V & A Waterfront in Portswood Road.

Address: 3 Portswood Road, V &A Waterfront, Cape Town

Contact: 021 4184527

Website: www.everard-read-capetown.co.za


The Power of Color

As music effects our mood and thoughts so does color, it represents a form of expression for individuals and allows to communicate with subliminal messages.

Barlow’s art work uses the power of color to set the scene for viewers and incite a sense of emotion. Color has an indescribable affect on us that cannot be communicated with mere words.

Barlow holds strong emphasis on the power of color in his work and understands that it is able to transcend into more than what the eye can see.

“It is a wonderfully complex realm and I have only just taken the first step in a 100-kilometer walk.” barrio

Philip Barlow

The Cape Town art scene 

The Cape Town and South African art scene can be described as ‘refreshingly unique’ and we may not be the Louvre or have works of art by renowned renaissance painters, but we do have a refreshing take on expression, culture and art as a whole.

Barlow comments on this sharing his admiration for the art scene.

“The South African scene at large is not Paris, London, New York yet there is a wonderful genuineness and uniqueness about art created in our country” he said.

Gazing at Barlow’s art work, it may feel as if you are seeing the world through a looking glass, a parallel universe where we slightly close out eyes to see the finer details and beauty in the blur of our surroundings.

Picture: Facebook/Philip Barlow

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