About Artist Jeremy
Lipking b. 1975
In a remarkably
short period of time, Jeremy Lipking has emerged as one of the
country's premier realist artists. His talent, which rivals that
of the late nineteenth century painterly realists such as John
Singer Sargent, Joaquin Sorolla and Anders Zorn, is outstanding
for a painter of any age. It is all the more remarkable since he
is only thirty years old. 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 twentieth
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
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 underpainting 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 Cezanne's manner. But whereas Cezanne emphasized
the discontinuity of his touches, Lipking works with close
values, so that the result is a seamless veil of color.
The 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.
Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art