Posted by Johanna Ortiz , Friday, September 16, 2011 7:41 AM
Carnival Of Death
New York, New York
October 1st – October 23rd
Saturday, October 1st, 7-11pm
Last Rites Gallery presents The Carnival Of Death, new works by Laurie Lipton, in what will be her first solo show at the gallery.
A master of graphite, Laurie Lipton’s detailed drawings explore the passages of life and the portal into death. With technical prowess, she approaches her subject matter with a unique blend of both elegance and dark humor. Influenced by Día de los Muertos iconography, this exhibit runs just prior to The Day Of The Dead, commemorating the holiday by which it was inspired.
“I became fascinated by the contrast between the Day Of The Dead festival in Mexico and my experience of my mother's death. My parents were atheists. We had no ceremony, no goodbyes, no "closure". My father instructed the hospital to cremate my mother and dispose of her ashes. She was gone, disappeared, zapped out of existence. I was left with Nothing... literally and metaphysically. Friends & family treated my mother's death like an embarrassment. They awkwardly murmured Hallmark platitudes before slinking uneasily away. Death is as forbidden a topic in modern society as sex was in Victorian England.
When I visited Mexico in order to see The Day Of The Dead festival some years later, I couldn't help feeling envious of their approach to mortality. Families gathered on graves and picnicked, whole villages turned up with food for households in mourning. Death was treated as normal, even silly. Candied skulls grinned in their hundreds and skeletons danced in a fair-ground atmosphere. I decided to rebel against my heritage and create drawings inspired by the mood and atmosphere of the Mexicans. I decided to get in-touch with my bare bones. My culture runs from death, screaming. We worship youth, beauty and the illusion that we have all the time in the world. We frantically face-lift and botox, and throw pills, creams and money at death. We fool ourselves into thinking that death only happens to other people & only losers die. Skulls always look like they're laughing. Maybe the joke is on us?”
About The Artist:
Laurie Lipton was born in New York and began drawing at the age of four. She was the first person to graduate from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pennsylvania with a Fine Arts Degree in Drawing (with honours). She has lived in Holland, Belgium, Germany,France and London and has recently moved back to the States after 35 years abroad. Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the USA.
Lipton was inspired by the religious paintings of the Flemish School. She tried to teach herself how to paint in the style of the 17th 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".