|Skylar in Blue by Jeremy Lipking, oil painting, 16 x 12, 2010.
Jeremy Lipking: Weekend With the Masters Instructor
In a remarkably short period of time, Jeremy Lipking has
emerged as one of the country's premier oil painters. His talent, which
rivals that of the late 19th-century painterly realists such as John Singer
Sargent, Joaquín Sorolla, and Anders Zorn, is outstanding for a painter of any
age. Like these
great painters of the past, Lipking is a virtuoso artist. His canvases convey
the magical aura of convincing imagery emerging out of a field of paint.
Realism has been misunderstood through most of the 20th
century as an art of imitation. In truth, when practiced by a painter like
Jeremy Lipking, realist painting is a powerful creative force. Many viewers are
drawn to his art thinking that it looks just like a photograph. Actually
Lipking's vision is the opposite of what a camera does. A photograph tends to
flatten an image, reducing all relationships of color and shade to a stiff
mechanical pattern. Lipking's skill lies in his ability to probe in and around
his subject. With a highly sensitive eye, he sees nuances of value and hue that
the camera and most people can never see. More incredibly, he is able to
translate his highly nuanced vision into a painted image. Lipking's true
subject is his pictorial fluency. Seeing one of his paintings involves entering
into the pictorial world he has created. Like all great realists, he has the
ability to generate powerful fictions.
I have had the pleasure to watch Lipking paint on a number
of occasions. The experience is both exhilarating and baffling. Lipking begins
his paintings in a surprisingly loose, painterly manner-something I never would
have expected. He makes initial marks to find the scale and proportions of his
subject. Then he applies a broad under painting of color to capture the desired
hue and value. At this stage his paintings look almost abstract, consisting of
a pattern of large color shapes. Lipking's characteristic brushwork or gesture
is what I like to call the "open touch." What I mean by this phrase
is that Lipking applies paint in broad, loose facets, often leaving areas of
bare canvas in between. In subsequent additions the open areas are gradually
filled in, creating a breathing lattice like structure of paint. In a curious
way, the method is somewhat like Cézanne's manner. But whereas Cézanne
emphasized the discontinuity of his touches, Lipking works with close values,
so that the result is a seamless veil of color.
magic occurs in the finish. As he progresses, he gradually refines each area,
adjusting relationships of color and adding deft touches to define select
elements. He brings certain forms to a razor sharp level of finish. Other
passages are left vague and undefined. In this interplay of sharp and loose,
the painting literally opens up and breathes. This is what makes his art seem
so lifelike. Instead of resting as static images, his canvases pulse with the
subtle energy of a living thing.
--Michael Zakian, Ph.D.
Return to the Weekend With the Masters Meet & Greet.