13 January – 17 February 2012
Josh Lilley is pleased to announce the debut exhibition at the gallery by US artist Matt Lipps.
While Lipps' works exist firmly within the realm of photography, his conceptual approach to date has fundamentally been that of an appropriation artist. Through a process of extracting images from diverse source materials, Lipps reorganises visual icons from our cultural history into his own compositions. His photographs engage with juxtapositions of scale, of time, and of familiarity, focusing on subjective hierarchies in order to explore ideas of context and categorisation.
For his first solo exhibition outside of the United States, Josh Lilley is delighted to present Lipps' new HORIZON/S series in the downstairs spaces of the gallery, while three distinct works from his HOME series of 2008 will introduce his practice upstairs.
HOME series shows a selection of photographs of Lipps' own childhood home, montaged amongst the dramatic landscape shots of American photographer Ansel Adams. Such iconic American images infuse a drama and emotional power in the work when set against the humble interiors and decor representative of everyday life. An Ansel Adams image also provided the inspiration for Lipps' HORIZON/S series. In 1933 Adams photographed the inside of the storage room at the De Young Museum, the home of several diverse collections of sculpture. Such a composition stimulated Lipps to create his own collections of figures, mined from the late-1950s American journal for the arts Horizon Magazine. The publication was launched with the express invitation to its American readers to join with its editors in a quest towards discovering what they foresaw as a horizon between high art and culture, intended to deliver a model of good taste and sophistication to its audience.
In order to re-assemble such a collection of imagery, Lipps has cut out these characters and objects, reconfiguring them into sculptural three-dimensional stage sets. Lit with acid lighting from the sides, the construction is then photographed into a seamless image. This effect is one of the remarkable traits of Lipps' work; the fact that his finished pictures mimic so closely processes easily achieved by contemporary computer programmes and technology. Lipps' work is in fact entirely analogue; the appropriation of images is sensually dramatised and then captured. Lipps sees his own work as remixing our relationship to images in general, making us rethink the context and operations they assume.
With that in mind, the artist has organised his HORIZON/S series into simple categories such as Women or Men in Suits. As such, characters from diverse periods and contexts are brought together into the same space. Often the stark categorisation seems inadequate, and the collection borders on the farcical when the normal boundaries of time and scale are ignored. In this regard Lipps' work becomes an analytical deconstruction of the subjective choices taken up by the editors of Horizon Magazine, that old-fashioned pioneer of good taste. By focusing on selection and reconfiguration, his processes bring attention to cultural norms and choices within American society, questioning how images are presented in the media, while also challenging photographic heritage. His work Untitled (Horizon Archive) stands as the centrepoint to this focus of his work: a jumbled conglomerate of figures from different ages and cultures, all replete with the magazine-styled stereotypes they embodied.
Matt Lipps (b. 1975, California, USA) lives and works in San Francisco. Lipps gained his Masters in Studio Art from the University of California in 2004. Previous solo exhibitions include HORIZON/S, Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Los Angeles, 2011, and Matt Lipps: HOME, Silverman Gallery, San Francisco, 2010. Two-person and group exhibitions and biennials include, Tilt Shift: New Queer Perspectives from the Western Edge, Luis de Jesus Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Cutters/ Berlin: An Exhibition of International Collage, Pool Gallery, Berlin 2010; FotoFest 2010 Biennial, Houston, Texas; and Matt Lipps/Caroline May, The Apartment, Athens, Greece, 2008.