Pareidolia is the human impulse whereby we perceive familiar patterns where none actually exist. From the time we are children, we look up at clouds and describe what we recognize. Ancient astronomers identified constellations this way in order to remember them and track their movements in the night sky. More recently, the public's fascination with Mars exploration has taken a pareidolic turn as NASA releases images of the Martian surface, and lay persons spot "faces" and "tools" that help to fuel their imagination for a prehistoric Martian culture.
Patrick Phipps begins his line drawings without a plan. He begins making marks on the page, and allows an image to emerge. He becomes engrossed in the process—sometimes impelled by the music and background noise of the coffee shop where he often works. When the lines and marks begin to form something recognizable he consciously tries to negate them. He diverts their direction, and the layered drawing is the evidence of a pushing and pulling of impulses. He is giving in to, and resisting the impulse of Pareidolia. His ceramic work is made in much the same way, as he forms the clay into something and then not.