Matt Lipps: Figures


Matt Lipps, Figure II (Lassaw & Aphrodite) (detail), 2015. Courtesy the artist and Marc Selwyn Fine Art, Jessica Silverman Gallery, and Josh Lilley Gallery.


Matt Lipps, Figures (installation view), 2015. Courtesy the artist and Art in General. Photo: Charles Benton.


Matt Lipps, Figure II (Lassaw & Aphrodite), 2015. C-print. Courtesy the artist and Art in General.
Photo: Charles Benton.


Matt Lipps, Figure I (Lassaw & Kouros), 2015. C-print.
Courtesy the artist and Art in General.
Photo: Charles Benton.


Matt Lipps, Figures (installation view), 2015. Courtesy the artist and Art in General. Photo: Charles Benton.


Matt Lipps, Figure III (Picasso & Kouros), 2015. C-print.
Courtesy the artist and Art in General.
Photo: Charles Benton.



Mar 3, 2015–May 2, 2015
Matt Lipps: Figures
New Commissions

Matt Lipps: Figures

Matt Lipps
Curated by Kristen Chappa
Exhibition: March 3–May 2, 2015
Opening Reception: Tuesday, March 3, 6–8pm

Press Release: Download PDF

Art in General is pleased to present Figures, a New Commission with Matt Lipps in the Storefront Project Space.

Matt Lipps’ artistic practice speaks to a sense of longing when confronted by most photographs—a longing for the lost object or moment abstracted by the camera, when corporeal and temporal experiences are flattened into static, silent images. His process involves re-shooting cut-out and staged images sourced from iconic publications such as Horizon magazine, the Time-Life series, and Ansel Adams coffee table books. Lipps creates anachronistic associations, recontextualizing analog black and white photography using collage tactics that reference contemporary digital imaging. His strategies of appropriation call attention to the practice of photography itself, embedding layers of reproduction within each print.

The relationship between photography and sculpture, and the limitations of each, is central to Lipps’ practice: how each promises what the other fails to provide. Photography can deliver an instantaneous, multi-view perspective, but it omits broader context and lacks true physicality in space. Sculpture offers this visceral experience, but resists a holistic view—requiring a body in motion, objects are continuously hidden and revealed as the surrounding landscape shifts with each step. Lipps’ photographic reproductions of sculpture heighten an awareness of this absence of location and the loss of one’s own body in relation to the figure-in-the-round.

Lipps’ photographs create complex spatial relationships not only between the collaged elements within each piece, but also in response to the conditions of exhibition. For Art in General’s storefront gallery, the artist has created an installation of three large-scale works, each collapsing and enlarging documentation of figurative sculptures from the canon of Art History. The glassed-in project space further flattens perspective while simultaneously revealing a sculptural presentation, reinforcing the tension between two and three dimensions. The works act as surrogates for performers in their content, size, and uprightness, and a theatrical curtain acts as a color field backdrop in each one, underscoring the display as a window proscenium. Critically examining photography from both fine art and mass media sources, Lipps reveals how these images have reflected and shaped our culture, and the ways in which the mass-distributed photograph can be invested with the deeply personal: a desire to locate these images within intimate settings.

Matt Lipps received his MFA from the University of California, Irvine in 2004, and he is currently an assistant professor of art at San Francisco State University. Lipps’ work has been part of LAXART’s billboard project in Los Angeles (2011) and the Museum of Photographic Arts (MOPA), San Diego’s annual peer-nominated Staking Claim: A California Invitational (2013). His works have also been exhibited at institutions such as the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (2012), the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2012), and the FOAM Museum, Amsterdam (2014). Upcoming exhibitions in New York include Under Construction: New Positions in American Photography at Pioneer Works and Matt Lipps: Library at James Danziger Gallery. The artist lives and works in San Francisco.

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Art in General was founded in Lower Manhattan in 1981 and supports the production of new work by local and international artists primarily through its New Commissions Program and its International Collaborations program.  Art in General also produces an annual symposium What Now? on critical and timely issues in artistic and curatorial practice.

General Support of Art in General is provided by General Hardware Manufacturing Inc.; the Institute of Museum and Library Services; the Lambent Foundation; the New York State Council on the Arts with support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature; Ruth Ivor Foundation; The Greenwich Collection; Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation; Toby D. Lewis Donor Advised Fund of the Jewish Federation of Cleveland; the William Talbott Hillman Foundation; and by individuals. This program is also supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

The New Commissions Program is made possible by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts; Trust for Mutual Understanding; National Endowment for the Arts; and Jerome Foundation. Support has also been provided by Commissioners’ Circle leaders Jeffery Larsen and Joseph Bolduc; Commissioners’ Circle supporter Cher Lewis, and Commissioners’ Circle members Roya Khadjavi-Heidari, Mary Lapides, Richard Massey, Ron and Lucille Neeley, and Leslie Ruff.

Additional special support provided by ROOT Studios.