Through my paintings and drawings I’ve attempted to capture moments in time and the symbolism of the everyday. By immersing myself in the act of painting and drawing, I would like to think that I’m engaged in a process of deep attention, allowing the artworks to evolve organically and often incorporating unexpected elements. Murdoch and, importantly, the Iris Murdoch community have offered me new ideas to explore, new ways to interpret and think about my own work, and also a lot of enjoyment!
Murdoch’s great love of the Flaying of Marsyas ignited Phillips’ inspiration. ‘When the National Portrait Gallery commissioned me to paint her portrait I recalled our conversation’, he said, and he ‘started a fairly hasty copy of the picture to act as a backdrop so that she might sit in front of the head of Marsyas.’ Phillips sketched in the Titian with broad brushstrokes; in contrast, he rendered the image of Murdoch herself with great precision and imbued it with a translucent, otherworldly light
This collection includes four essays dealing directly with the writings of Iris Murdoch and reflecting work of my own from the years 2015-20. The essays in question are ‘The Varieties of Attention’ (not previously published but presented to a conference at Queen Mary, University of London in 2017), ‘The Elusiveness of the Ethical: From Murdoch to Diamond’, ‘Post-Existentialist Moments: Murdoch and Highsmith’, and ‘Iris Murdoch and the Quality of Consciousness’.
Now libraries and archive collections are re-opening, and I am delighted that restrictions on travel have been lifted, so that I can make an appointment at the Iris Murdoch Special Collections at Kingston University, to continue my work on the archive material there.
In this article, Miles Leeson follows on from his piece on Murdoch’s centenary last year and discusses the impact the Anglo-Irish writer is having on those who came after her.