A Connecticut native, Phillip Pavia was the voice of an artistic generation, involving himself in the diffusion of ideas just as he involved himself in his own artistic process. He co-founded and directed the legendary community known as “The Club,” a group of Abstract Expressionist artists that gathered together to exchange ideas and promote discourse within the arts and society overall. The first meeting was a memorial panel for the recently-deceased Arshile Gorky, and featured artists like Isamu Noguchi, George Spaventa, William de Kooning, among others.
Pavia studied briefly at Yale University before joining the Art Students League, where he befriended Jackson Pollock. He moved to Paris for a few years and finally settled in New York by 1938. His work was closely tied to social function, focusing on relationships between man and the natural world as they related to the context of the past and present. He derived inspiration from the Impressionists – who lived what they painted, reflecting a tribe to a degree – and from contemporaries like Kline, Pollock, and de Kooning, who had a spontaneous, improvisational approach to their artistic process.
Conscious of the relationships between man and rock, Pavia often considers the origin of such an affair in his own work. He once wrote that: “It started twenty thousand years ago in the limestone caves. With hands, arms and fingers in place of refined adjectives, they talked about what inspired their eyes… in the cave, artists exchanged their secrets.”