Philip Mullen is the 2020 Verner Governor’s Award recipient for Lifetime Achievement. He has been a mainstay in the South Carolina arts scene since coming to Columbia to join the University of South Carolina faculty in 1969. Five of his works are included in the State Art Collection and others adorn the collections of Guggenheim Museum, Smithsonian Institution, Brooklyn Museum, Columbia Museum of Art, Greenville County Museum of Art, McKissick Museum and the Koger Center for the Arts among others. He has had solo exhibitions in at least eight states and Washington since 1972. He is the only living South Carolina artist to have been featured, in 1975, in the prestigious Whitney Biennial by the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, regarded as one of the world’s leading art shows.
Paintings should be started fast and finished slow. The slower the finish the longer the creativity remains in the artist's mind and the less likely that the work will be declared done prematurely. The new Koger show includes the slowest and richest group of paintings in my career. The most recent work in this show, a 6X10 foot canvas, was put on the current canvas in 1992, with parts of unfinished paintings from as long ago as 1976 used as collage, and finished in 2020: A forty-four year painting.