Phillip Russell is a Sydney-based artist whose investigation of the Australian bush sees light and coolness penetrating the foliage, describing spirit of the ancient landscape Having studied at the Julian Ashton Art School and winning the Phillip Musket landscape prize in his final year, Russell travelled across Europe immersing himself in the art history of the continent, bringing home new ideas of painting light and form and continuing his studies with a BFA from Newcastle University. Inspired by the works of Sydney Nolan, Graham Sutherland, Fred Williams and William Robinson, Russell paints with spontaneity but with underlying structure which underpins his design and composition. He paints with realism but with simplification, illuminating the bush with spirituality to show his connection to the land. Describing his pervasive painted cliffs and trees as ‘negating gravity’, this palpable sense of suspension is created by the register of cool light within his colour. Enhancing forest greens, rusty reds, and champagne golds, through illuminating them with rims of charcoal and burnt sienna, Russell divides the light into patterns of fragmented colour. Immersing himself in the Australian bush, Russell paints the diversity of nature with a keen awareness: Trees are sinuous, shadows evocative and light seeps through the edges. His subject continues to be the source of an enduring challenge to investigate shape, light and colour in nature in all its diversity.