Laurie Lipton drawings reveal her influences and inspirations: Religious paintings from the Flemish school, Durer, Van Eyck, Goya combine with Diane Arbus and the effects of watching black white TV shows as a child living in a color-filled world. She explains:
Black and white is the color of ancient photographs and old TV shows… it is the color of ghosts, longing, time passing, memory, and madness. Black and white ached. I realized that it was perfect for the imagery in my work.”
While Lipton wanted to paint and draw in the style of the 16th century Dutch and Flemish Masters, and tried to teach herself, she admits she failed. And while attending university, her instructors tried to negate her interest in figurative art:
It was all abstract and conceptual art when I attended university. My teachers told me that figurative art went ‘out’ in the Middle Ages and that I should express myself using form and shapes, but splashes on canvas and rocks on the floor bored me. I knew what I wanted: to create something no one had ever seen before, something that was brewing in the back of my brain. What I wanted fell between ‘isms.’ It wasn’t ‘surreal,’ it wasn’t ‘real’… it was lurking between the two.
Despite what her teachers said, Lipton was the first person to graduate from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania with a Fine Arts Degree in Drawing (with honors). Her drawing technique–building up tone with thousands of fine cross-hatching lines– developed as she traveled throughout Europe immersing herself in history, architecture and classical art.
It’s an insane way to draw. but the resulting detail and luminosity is worth the amount of effort. My drawings take longer to create than a painting of equal size and detail.
The resulting works are now in book form, published by Last Gasp. The Drawings of Laurie Lipton features more than 70 of her works and an introduction by Mike McGee, director of CSUFullerton’s Begovich Gallery, is the most conclusive and ambitious publication about the artist to date. On Saturday evening, November 23, Lipton will be signing her book and discussing her work at La Luz de Jesus Gallery.
Whether reconfiguring the Moirai–Clotho, Lachesis, and Atropos, the Fates of ancient Greek myths–as three women in a sausage factory, or turning an autotopia into a death ride with skeletons in to a commentary on modern society, Lipton’s work shows not only skill and the mastery of her technique, but also wit and grace. She has indeed found what falls
between the ‘isms’
taking us along for a deliciously thrilling and disturbing ride.
All images from The Drawings of Laurie Lipton
The Drawings of Laurie Lipton: Book Signing
Saturday, November 23rd; 7-10 PM. Artist Talk at 8:30 PM
La Luz de Jesus Gallery
4633 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90027