Jane Fox Hipple: Corresponding Selves
September 14th - October 27th, 2013
Personal and reflective, Corresponding Selves, Jane Hipple’s recent painting exhibit at Dogde Gallery, explores the interconnectedness of seemingly varied personae. Her most recent solo show, which ran through October 27th at DODGEgallery, articulates a dynamic and singular human experience; each canvas stands in as both a singular entity and as a part of an over arching narrative.
Just as much works of planned stroke and pigment, there is an undeniable element of chance present in Hipple’s canvases. The unrestrained drips and drools of the paint she lets fall both within and without the constructed boundary of canvas’ edge make up what the viewer sees as completed work. In within, the shades of blue run into one another in an imprecise arrangement; they drag, slowly, into one another and sink into the cotton on which they are painted in a way that evokes a feeling of abandon. Not to say the work appears incomplete—yet if we argue Hipple’s painted surfaces are a reflection of the human condition, then we’ll never be able to declare anyone of them as finished—it is this feeling of slow rolling movement left to its own devices that directly communicates a person’s ever-changing, though often very quiet trajectory. There is evidence of happenstance, too, in the way the sheets crease and fall beneath the canvases to which they are tacked. This is seen in the painting-sculpture object of loss. The wrinkled cotton sheet, a fitted bed sheet in actuality, unfurls itself beneath a plank of wood painted with harsh black strokes. The creases in the draped sheets, the way they fall and coil onto the floor below the canvas or wood also evoke—like the unschooled drips of paint— this surrealist and playful element of raw chance that calls attention to the frailty and fallibility of the self.
Much of Hipple’s work bears signs of unsettling gore: the torn-away canvas exposes bone stretcher in stript; the draped sheet unfurls from the sides of the stretchers falling onto the floor like the innards of a gutted animal in her work object of loss (Grayscale with Queen green). Within this gore, however, there is also an element of intimacy present, felt in the specific materials Hipple selects—bed sheet cardboard—and the way they are treated with paint. In stript she extends the formal idea of a painter’s canvas to the exposed wood stretcher, by painting it with a subdued pink. By exposing and re-working the dictates of the painting’s form—either by gouging the canvas or adding a sheet to its rectangular edge—Hipple creates room for the work to develop and create for itself a powerfully emotional aura.
There is a certain vulnerability found, too, in the materials used; materials that make up the common lived experience. Some, specifically the bed sheet, that connote a space recognized universally as a space where a person can exist as the most naked, unfettered version of self (also as a place that is privy to both the experience of the unconscious—sleep—and the most intimate of circumstances—sex). In holder/held, a canvas streaked with the faintest marks of paint is ringed in a twisted, painted sheet. The old sheet is repurposed to shroud—instead of a human body—the canvas, extending, once again, the rectangular form of the picture-plane out from itself and into its surrounding physical space.
If each canvas is a note in one human’s strung-together narrative, each represents a note of raw vulnerability; a verse wrung out and re-collected, or not. Her work is not only an investigation of paint but also an exploration of canvas, of stretchers, of drop cloth, of the exhale of a stroke, an examination of the way paint drools onto the floor beneath its designated surface. It is a work that revels in the practice. She maps out her own painterly trail and hangs it, like one might hang her stained undergarments; relaxing any and all boundaries that might guard her most intimate, fallible acts.
Leah-Emily Schlackman is a New York based writer and editor for Whitehot and NY Arts Magazine.
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