Cover image of the review
Emma Phillips, *Untitled (Diane washing dishes at her father's house)*, 2018. Courtesy of the artist and ReadingRoom, Melbourne.

Emma Phillips: Too Much to Dream

6 Apr 2019
13 Mar - 27 Apr 2019

There are three Dianes—two portrait subjects, one spectre—in Emma Phillips’ current exhibition of large-scale, predominantly black-and-white photographs which takes its title, Too much to dream, from a song by The Electric Prunes.

The first Diane, of Untitled (Diane washing dishes at her father’s house) and the unfocussed, tightly cropped colour triptych Untitled (Diane on her bed, smiling), both 2018, previously appeared in a key portrait from the artist’s 2017 exhibition at CAVES titled Greetings. There, in Untitled (Diane with pet rat), 2016, Diane gazed affectionately, knowingly, at the pet rat clinging to her shoulder. “do you miss the rats?” reads a line from Phillips’ intriguing bricolage text, which accompanies Too Much to Dream and is composed of “diary notes and sentences friends, family and portrait subjects’ have written, texted or spoken aloud, as well as excerpts from Clarice Lispector’s A Breath of life.” We might imagine that Diane, while washing dishes at her father’s house, flanked by neat rows of baby bottles to her right and a tin of baby formula to her left, replies without turning that she’s too busy to miss the rats.

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