Graffiti, as an influence and cultural touchstone, has expanded and contrasted over American art for the last few decades. The aesthetic itself has been utilized in so many ways, from fashion to fine art, design to film, graffiti become a backdrop, almost a folktale of the last 50 years of American culture. Pat Phillips, influenced by boxcar graffiti and now creating a body of work that speaks to the deepening crisis of American culture, has a keen observational eye as to how to look at the multiple layers of a divided nation and how the layers of graffiti expose a tale of a nation of unease. His newest solo show, Consumer Reports, is on view at Jeffrey Deitch in NYC through January 8, 2022.

As the gallery notes,"He found his way to art through painting and photographing box cars. His paintings fuse this graffiti background with a sophisticated study of figuration. He embraces this entry point, creating paintings and drawings that address the social and political threads running through American culture." Through his depictions of the urban landscape, the tags themselves become a metaphor of the layers of years of oppression and economic strife, of a language of raw emotion and survival mixed with a freestyled and bootlegged world. It's poetic and unadulterated. –Evan Pricco