Phil McLoughlin was a successful artist (as Phil Barker) in the 1970s, winning the prestigious Pernod Prize at the Royal Scottish Academy (1974) and two years later becoming a founder member of the Dundee Group (Artists), which included Jack Knox, Grant Clifford and Jack Morocco. In 1980 he began his doctoral studies and when commissioned to write his first book he decided to exchange art for a career in academia. By 1990 Dr Barker was Director of Studies at the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Dundee and spent the next 20 years as a professor and psychotherapist in universities in England, Japan, Australia and Ireland, becoming one of the world’s leading authorities on mental health recovery. He returned to art in 2010 as McLoughlin - taking the name of his grandfather who had first encouraged his interest in art.
Phil's paintings continue to pursue his original interest in ‘conceptual art’ – addressing the uncertainties of life and the mercurial nature of the illusory image. Nothing is ever what, at first, it appears to be and, like life itself, can only be understood through experience. The multiple meanings that flow from the work render all labelling and classification redundant: “The name is not the thing; the map is not the territory”.