Modernism is pleased to present its first one-person exhibition of drawings by Los Angeles-based artist Laurie LIPTON.
The art of Laurie Lipton is a potent mixture of humor and dread. In intricate drawings, Lipton seductively leads us into the drama of a fun house world where technology has gone wild. Her artistic vision is unique in contemporary art and can be easier associated to the apocalyptic cinematic vision of Ridley Scott’s BLADE RUNNER (1982) and Terry Gilliam’s BRAZIL (1985). The painstaking creation of Lipton’s virtuoso draftsmanship is a marvel to behold.
(Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator Emeritus, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco)
Laurie Lipton was inspired by the religious paintings of the Flemish School. She tried to teach herself how to paint in the style of the 16th century Dutch Masters and failed. When traveling around Europe as a student, she began developing her very own peculiar drawing technique building up tone with thousands of fine cross-hatching lines like an egg tempera painting. "It's an insane way to draw", she says, "but the resulting detail and luminosity is worth the amount of effort. My drawings take longer to create than a painting of equal size. You can’t really experience the impact of the detail & intensity of one of my larger pieces on a computer screen. They have to be seen in the flesh."
It was all abstract and conceptual art when Lipton attended university. “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,” but lurking between the two.” Lipton used to sit for hours in the library copying Durer, Memling, Van Eyck, Goya and Rembrandt. The photographer, Diane Arbus, was another of her inspirations. “Her use of black and white hit me at the core of my Being. 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."
Lipton’s work presents unflinching commentary on the complexities of modern life, both in society at large and for individuals, including the horrors of war, alienation caused by technology, and our “post-truth” world where everything washes over us like fiction. Lipton only draws about the things that concern her. “When I was a child I used to sit alone for hours and draw about all the aspects of school that I hated, all the wrongs I felt, all the anger and frustration that was bottled up inside of me. It helped me to cope and to understand. Unsettling art, whether it is in books, music, or pictures, is an attempt to comprehend life’s trials and tribulations.”
In the Eric Minh Swenson film, “Laurie Lipton: Drawing it Out,” Laurie spoke specifically about her piece, “Interface.” The piece seems to comment on the trappings of the digital world. She said, “It’s about being online, and how we’re trapped in our little screens and our modems and everything, and this man—people ask me, oh, who is he—he’s just a fleshy human being caught in circuits. And he’s here in the iPhone, he’s an app, he is skyping himself, he’s everywhere. He’s sort of caught in this tremendous techno-babble.”
Laurie Lipton was the first person to graduate from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania with a Fine Arts Degree in Drawing (with honors). Her work has been exhibited extensively in galleries and institutions throughout Europe and the United States, and is the subject of the documentary films Laurie Lipton: Drawing it Out, Love Bite: Laurie Lipton & Her Disturbing Black & White Drawings, and ART & MIND.