Announcing the 2022 Guildhouse Fellow: Tom Phillips

Guildhouse, the Art Gallery of South Australia and the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation are delighted to announce South Australian painter Tom Phillips as the 2022 Guildhouse Fellow.  

Valued at over $50,000, the Guildhouse Fellowship was inaugurated in 2019 with the generous support of leading philanthropists, the James & Diana Ramsay Foundation, to recognise and elevate South Australian artistic ambition. The annual fellowship offers a transformative opportunity for one mid-career South Australian visual artist each year, awarding funding to support research and development, including the creation of new work, with a presentation outcome at AGSA. 

This year’s Guildhouse Fellow, Adelaide-based expressionist artist Tom Phillips, paints from a place of personal experience, highlighting issues of social justice and capturing everyday experiences of loneliness, alienation, vulnerability and hardship. The subjects of his figurative paintings are often naked or stripped bare, set in domestic, urban and post-industrial surroundings and built up in gestural layers of oil paint and oil pastels. In 2021, Phillips was the recipient of the SALA Festival Don Dunstan Foundation Award, and in 2022 is featured in SALA’s 25th anniversary exhibition, SILVER, at Queen’s Theatre. 

I see myself as a paint brush warrior and social commentator. As an artist, I believe art should say something about the world that we live in. The Guildhouse Fellowship will change my life; giving me the opportunity to further develop my painting technique and explore new subject matter, to work with curators and the Art Gallery of South Australia, and most importantly allow me to become a full-time painter which has not been possible until now. I can now call myself an artist.

Tom Phillips

2022 Guildhouse Fellow

The 2022 Guildhouse Fellowship selection panel, comprised AGSA Director, Rhana Devenport ONZM, Guildhouse Chief Executive Officer, Emma Fey, and guest judge, Rachel Kent, Bundanon Chief Executive Officer, recognised Phillips’ dedication and steadfast commitment to his painting practice over the past 25 years.   

They commented, “Tom Phillips’ distinctive expressive visual language excavates and lays bare the human struggle. It is evident that the Guildhouse Fellowship will have a transformational impact, giving Phillips the opportunity to delve into his practice and develop his networks. 

Guildhouse Chief Executive, Emma Fey says, “I could not be more delighted to see Tom supported and recognised in this way. Tom is a long standing Guildhouse member who has invested deeply in his practice with great clarity of purpose over a sustained period of time. The Fellowship will open up a world of possibility for Tom – its impact on his practice will be profound.  

James & Diana Ramsay Foundation Executive Director, Kerry de Lorme says, “This year’s Guildhouse Fellow, Tom Phillips, reflects how important and unique this opportunity is for South Australian artists. We are thrilled that Tom will now be able to dedicate the next year entirely to his art practice, which is grounded in socio-political issues of great importance to our times and society. 

AGSA Director, Rhana Devenport ONZM commented, “By offering this life-changing opportunity to mid-career artists, the Guildhouse Fellowship plays a critical role in the future growth of South Australia’s visual art landscape. We look forward to working with Tom on a presentation outcome at AGSA and are proud to be the platform for such important conversations. 

Now in its fourth year, the Guildhouse Fellowship has previously been awarded to Troy-Anthony Baylis (2019), Sera Waters (2020) and Liam Fleming (2021). In November 2022, Sera Waters will present Sera Waters: Future Traditions at AGSA, an exhibition which demonstrates how ancient textile traditions can craft hope in the face of climate change through experiments, artefacts, texts, events, workshops and works of art. 


Tom Phillips is an Adelaide-based contemporary artist with a practice spanning more than 25 years. Graduating from Adelaide Central School of Art with an Advanced Diploma of Visual Arts in 1997, he has participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions nationally since that time.  

Phillips was awarded the Limber Up Mentorship through Guildhouse in 2017, mentored by esteemed Australian artist Stewart MacFarlane. In 2019 he was Artist in Residence as part of the Sauerbier House Culture Exchange and in 2021 was recipient of the SALA Festival Don Dunstan Foundation Award.  

Recent solo exhibitions include The Urban Jungle, Barossa Regional Gallery, Tanunda (2022); Another Day, Another Lonely Night, The Main Gallery, Adelaide (2021); Everyone has a story to tell, Sauerbier House, Noarlunga (2019); Dystopia, Broken Hill Regional Gallery, Broken Hill (2019); Suburban Castaway, Praxis Artspace, Bowden (2018); Between the Clock and Bed, Walkway Gallery, Bordertown (2017) and Bosz Gallery, Brisbane (2016). 

He was selected as a finalist in the Fleurieu Art Prize (2018); The Advertiser Contemporary Art Prize, SALA Festival (2017, 2015, 2014); Kilgour Prize, Newcastle Art Gallery (2017, 2015, 2014); Naked and Nude Art Prize, Manning Regional Art Gallery (2015, 2013, 2011); Muswellbrook Art Prize (2017, 2011); Whyalla Art Prize (2017, 2015, 2013, 2011); Sunshine Coast Art Prize, Caloundra Regional Gallery, (2015) and the 38th Alice Prize (2014). 

Phillips’ works are held in private and public collections in Australia and New Zealand. 

Images (L-R): Tom Phillips, In the Studio, 2021. Photograph Aubrey Jonsson courtesy InReview; Tom Phillips, untitled 2, Ink, gouache and pastel on paper, 100cm x 70cm, 2020. Image courtesy the artist.