Phillip Russel is a Sydney-based artist whose investigation of the Australian bush sees the light cool and penetrate the foliage, describing the souls of the trees. Having studied at the Julian Ashton Art School and winning the Phillip Musket landscape prize in his final year, Russell travelled across Europe divulging himself in the art history of the continent, bringing home new ideas of painting light and form. Inspired by the works of Sydney Nolan, Graham Sutherland, Fred Williams and William Robinson, Russel paints with spontaneity but with underlying structure. He paints with realism but with simplification, illuminating the bush with spirituality showing his connection to the land. Describing his 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, Russel paints the diversity of plant life with an awareness to the bush like no other. Trees are shapely, shadows evocative and light seeps through the edges.