(CV)(Criticle Profile)
by M. A. Torrington, Honours B.A.

Through a lifetime of outstanding artistic achievements, dedication to his local community–and service to his nation, Philip Aziz has always been one who desired a better country.

Across a multitude of creative disciplines involving liturgical and spiritual themes, to civic-minded social actions in the areas of eco-consciousness and heritage building preservations—Aziz has never forgotten his dream of being a leading example of what it means to be a Canadian, to chart a noble course for future generations to follow, in an undying spirit of true artistic virtue–and proactive community involvement.

Aziz is considered to be one of the world’s foremost living liturgical artists.  Just a cursory perusal of his resume reveals a host of uncanny reviews by Toronto and New York art critics–and an exhaustive list of exhibitions, commissions and monumental art projects that stretch up toward the heavens.

He is an internationally acclaimed genius: a Master Artist?with an eye for uplifting the spirit.  He studies and works in several liturgical disciplines, including painting, sculpture, celature, metal-works, print-making, portraiture, architectural design, jewelry (including crosses and chalices)–and silver-smithing.

He always delivers breath-taking results?exemplifying what it means to be a truly world-class creative force.

But not only is Philip internationally renown, he also contributes back to his roots in London.  Over the years, his civic-minded duties have led him into countless sectors, including teaching, environmental issues, historical heritage building protections–and support for local artists.  He believes in being open to civic interaction–and in offering support to the cultural fabric of the community he grew up in.

Philip has saved our Historic Courthouse and Gaol at the Forks.

He is a spear-head for movements to preserve heritage buildings?but he also has a stalwart advocacy for a balanced environment.  Furthermore, he is always reinvesting in the emerging talent of London.

The Philip Aziz Foundation Of Art is a Not-For-Profit organization with charitable status—and, in 2009, the Foundation plans to build a second gallery for hosting local talent, beside Aziz’s existing studio, which was originally built in 1967 for his Canadian Centennial project.

His property sprawls across the hill at 150 Philip Aziz Ave. (named in his honour during London’s 150th anniversary)–above the main campus of The University Of Western Ontario.

Meanwhile, Philip has several ongoing projects:

1) His Tree of Lebanon project is a fund-raiser for humanitarian relief in war-torn Lebanon.  The original painting is an egg tempera-on-gesso masterpiece: a 24-karat gold-leaf work of art.  The piece’s wood panel is made from rare Lebanese cedar–while the frame is Canadian ash.  The bottom of the painting reads: From the Soil of Lebanon into the Soul of Humanity.  Prints are being sold for the relief effort.  Plans are underway for the original to hang in the presidential palace in Lebanon.  Aziz recently donated a print to a Gaza relief event.

2) His Follow Me painting, a tribute to Pope John Paul II, was unveiled at a media gala and well received.  It’s future home may lead back to the Vatican, where Philip already has two other Masterpieces on display.

3) His Kuhleborn: The Thames Revisited project is in full swing, entering its third phase, with preparations underway for an exhibition in Ottawa, of art, music–and a massive five-ton ash tree carved into Thames River Stories.  This June, Aziz and company will be honoured guests in Ottawa, for the Canadian Heritage River Systems 25th Anniversary, where 300 delegates from around the world are scheduled to attend.

(Please review the Artist’s CV for further detail on the Thames Revisited Project.)

Over the years, Philip’s career has soared.  He has remained consistently, and wildly successful in many mediums, over many decades, across countless borders?and to the charm of all who have met him.

He is of a warm and disarming disposition, always quick to pay good work a compliment?and to point out the beauty in daily life.  On perusal of his comprehensive resume, one can begin to glean the trajectory in which his life has taken him, as he has mounted successful show upon more successful show, always to raving reviews, by museum and gallery directors and curators from around the world?as well as renowned New York and Toronto art critics alike:

“In the Aziz exhibition, no less than five major themes are represented in four media.  I can move from one work to another, from one medium to another and each time have a new and exciting experience.  What is important is that I can see the hand of the master artist in control of it all.  The show is beautiful …”
–Dr. Henry Geldzeller, Director of American Art, Metropolitan Museum, NY

(Please read the entirety of the Artist’s Critical Comments section in his CV for a full-spectrum sampling of a lifetime of  reviews by a Canadian Master Artist.)

But beside the common acclaim of critics, Philip has also taken care to record the thoughts of everyday people, and he has collected reams of written compliments from those grass-roots folk as well?hinting at a sober humility in him that harbours respect for all perspectives.

His critics range all types, from intellectual to layperson–but they do still, however, share one trait in common: unqualified praise for Philip’s Mastery of the Arts.

His vision is brilliant, spiritual, humane, perceptive, unique–and inspiring.

His community work and support for the cultural arts is ongoing and ever rising.

One of the most compelling reasons, however, that Philip is in an creative class all by himself, is that he is a proven Master of Many Arts. He is beyond a doubt, your quintessential Renaissance Man.  This singular difference has set him far apart from peers.  Few other artists in history have matched Philip’s sure command of myriad disciplines across a career of such virtuoso design.  His shows mesmerize the eye, walking one through numerous manifestations in form, but always leading back to a central concern with spiritualism.

As a consequence of his skills, his audience is often left stunned, unable to do much else but marvel over Aziz’s magically deft versatility:

“There is here a marriage of four media?each interpreting five universal themes and which together give a substance to an exhibition which one rarely finds in art today.  Of 52 works in the current show, 13 paintings, 20 gouaches, 6 lithographs and 4 sculptures were completed within 4 months of his New York show.  This in itself is historically significant?a Tour de Force of artistic creativity rarely seen in artists today.  Aziz and his art have assured him a place in the front rank of artists in the world today.”    –Dr. Robert P. Metzger, Stamford Museum of Art

It is of no small import then, that Philip’s approaches to art have varied?while his career has also flourished.      With a fecund commitment to detail, and a deliverance of form and message across a multi-disciplinary range, Philip has long ensured his place in history as one of the true Master Artists, in full control of his creative spirit.  He is a force not confined to categories, labels or prisons of unoriginality?but free to explore the universe of possibility, and to bring back to us exhibitions of delight for our senses?mixed in with sublime sub-texts for our minds.

Meanwhile, he works tirelessly in support of the local arts–and projects of transformative civic action that every citizen can get behind.

Philip is an established and forward-thinking man, working for the greater good of community and humanity.      He is divinely unique and passionately-minded.

As a Master Artist, he reaches out to his local community daily, in every way, providing support and guidance toward the betterment of the arts, culture and environment in London, Canada—and the world beyond.

From the first moment I met him, I felt his spirit was teeming with passion for his projects, pure of intent?and full of fire for the future.  He is an artist of illumination and a leader of change–bolstered by boundless creative achievements and the acclaim, love and support of both his everyday fans–and an array of international art critics.

Despite his outstanding achievements, dedication to his community and service to his nation, however,  he also comes to his calling with a boundless humility and grace.

Philip believes he was born into his role, for at the age of six, it was proclaimed by St. Martin’s Sister Perpetua that he was to be an Artist?and so he became one.

“Spiritual quest has always been at the centre of my life,” he has said.

Ever onward he only looked forward to his life as an Artist.

To date, the list of Aziz’s accomplishments of craft is vast and varied.  His life story boasts a comprehensive list of achievements and exhibits–and speaks for itself in terms of the highest levels of success he has attained.  In the service of brevity for my nomination, however, I can only begin to encapsulate the majesty of Philip’s career.

From dazzling accounts by world-class critics, to Salvador Dali himself, he has been praised for his artistic brilliance—and hailed as a shining star.

He belongs to traditions of abstract mysticism, and the illuminators of Irish manuscripts from the 8th & 9th centuries?and also the icon painters of the Orthodox Church.  His pioneering use of egg tempera mixed with gleaming gold is rooted in long revered art-forms?exquisitely designed to dazzle and enlighten you.

Countless articles about him point to the fact that  no other artist in the world is on his level, who can craft in his style, like the old Masters.

He has instructed art at Yale, and the University Of Western Ontario.  He has lectured at colleges and museums across North America.  He was the artist-in-residence and lecturer at the Aspen Institute for Humanistic Studies in Aspen, Colorado.  He was the first official artist-in-residence at The University Of Western Ontario, and he helped expand the art collection at the McIntosh Gallery.

He is an honorary Admiral in the Texas Navy, having been so appointed one year while touring political conventions due to his great interest in human affairs.

He helped plan the redevelopment of the Forks of the Thames, attracting support and attention from such luminaries as Ontario’s Premier John Robarts, then-London South MPP John White, author Pierre Berton–and media mogul Walter J. Blackburn.

Now, many of Philip’s ideas are being implemented in the multi-staged, multi-million-dollar Forks-of-the-Thames Project.  Also, his long-time advocacy for the preservation of historic London buildings has energized the local heritage community and helped prompt the formation of the Ontario Heritage Act.

Furthermore, The Philip Aziz Foundation Of Art is dedicated to carrying out the grand scope of the Artist’s ideas and passions for cultural and artistic civic enrichment, under his everyday advisory and direction.

He has his finger on the grass-roots pulse of our community, and since the 1950′s, he has elevated London’s legacy as a center for the arts, fighting for its historic preservations?and uplifting the cultural fabric of the city itself.

More recently, he has hosted the Big Sisters, to promote and foster the arts among young women; he has presented Academy Award-Winning fellow Londoner Paul Haggis with an early original painting entitled Celestial City; and, he has unveiled a 12′x7′ artwork called Epilogue, another egg tempera Masterwork, on exhibit at the London International Airport.

Then, in 2007, Aziz’s Thames Revisited Project shifted into full gear, as he sponsored artists to take a trip by canoe on the Thames and record their journey.  Ever since, the project has grown in scope, and promises to be one of Aziz’s greatest and most memorable achievements.

(Please review the Artist’s CV for further detail on the Thames Revisited Project.)

Philip’s accomplishments and impassioned personal directives are truly astounding, and continue with no end in sight.

He is determined in spirit and inspired by endless dreams, for the horizon still holds so many mysteries for him, as he captains his artistic career at the height of his power and talents.  He continues to produce, sell, donate and exhibit his ever-growing catalogue of Masterworks that now hang in institutions, public galleries, universities and churches around the world.

The title of Philip’s recent work, Follow Me (officially named by the Manager of Tourism London), echoes how Londoners always rally alongside Philip’s causes, as he leads us to environmental and cultural reforms. He guides us in keeping our sacred architecture safe, and spawns in us new emotional investments for the balance of Our Canadian Heritage River Thames– and Mother Nature in general, all across the globe.

Philip is everything a human being should achieve.  He is larger than life in talent and inspiration?and as kind and contemplative as the most searching, inquisitive, and naturally enlightened soul.  Plus, he grows braver and more visionary with each passing year.

With every new work he exhales and breathes into it the life of an ageless sagacity that speaks to us on multiple levels, in varying waves of self-reflexivity, from long-rooted spiritual beliefs, to deeply contemplated commitments of artistic Mastery.  His works are informed by his insights, as well as a mind for his mediums.

As with all great works, and Master Artists, his pieces convey a sense of the times that cannot be taught–and an effortlessness that comes from countless years of practice.  His art is crafted with a calm eye–and a penchant for the divine and uplifting.

He is truly an example of an international artist, in a prolific career, directing multiple levels of positive social action, alongside his own ambitious artistic goals.  His works The Tree Of Lebanon and Follow Me continue to inspire us–and leave us awestruck.  His Thames Revisited Project was sublimely conceived?and continues to gain momentum, ever inspiring new artists to create more eco-conscious works.

The future has never been more bright for Admiral Philip Aziz’s artistic star.  He is roundly acclaimed as the greatest living Canadian liturgical artist.  Few if any artists in his class enjoy the consensus of acclaim and breadth of accolades that he has received across the world stage.

Also see the Wikipedia entry for Philip Aziz.

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

M J Vandenberg December 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

I recently purchased Philip Aziz “Man” Creation of Adam at Gardiner Galleries. My Question- Is it the original or a copy? If it is a copy were is the original displayed?
M J Vandenberg

sarah kareep December 11, 2010 at 9:01 am

i feel so sorry for him he had died

john chamberlin February 3, 2013 at 10:07 pm

i have a 1948 eggwash painting 20 x 24 in an original frame. this was commision by my mother dolores hill and her husband persivil s hill the 2nd son of gorge washington hill presadent of the lucky strikes tobbaco hills of westport conn. the painting has been in our homes ever since. im thinking of selling this .it is a portrait of kari kristin hill .my sister im a half brother of karis my mom dolores left it to me in her estate.thankyou for your time in this matter. for photos please responed to e mail address or call john chamberlin at 541 260 3975.

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