The William Turner Gallery is pleased to present A Poem About Breathing: New Paintings, an exhibition of recent work by Los Angeles based artist, Curtis Ripley.
Curtis Ripley’s newest abstractions are sublime musings on expression itself. Concerned with capturing those phenomena which are most difficult to describe with words, Ripley’s paintings are gestural and impromptu meditations on mood, emotion and experience.
In this new series, Ripley titles his paintings as “Sonnets” and “Sonatas”, directly referencing the structures of music and poetry. Treating each painting as a spontaneous composition, Ripley’s brushstrokes flick across the subtle atmospheric grounds like colorful syllables in a poem or notes in a song. These lyrical marks seem to float on top of the surface, glowing with energy. This interplay between surface imagery and atmospheric background is reminiscent of the works of Surrealist painter, Joan Miro, who, like Ripley, was interested in the parallels between poetry, music and painting, remarking that “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.”
The avant-garde American composer (and contemporary of Miro) John Cage, also comes to mind when viewing Ripley’s rhapsodic paintings. Cage pioneered interdeterminacy - a movement in music in which aspects of a musical work are left open to chance. To Cage, “a 'mistake' is beside the point, for once anything happens it authentically is,” and this same philosophy could be argued for Ripley’s work. Ripley relinquishes the need for absolute control, embracing the unforeseen and unexpected. He is not afraid to wipe out and begin again, his paintings show the marks of their creation - splatters, smudges and drips are allowed to live on the surface, serving as markers of the artist’s path. Ripley’s artistic pursuit is to visually chronicle those fleeting moments that add up to a lifetime, inviting the viewer to join in on the journey.
This show marks Curtis Ripley’s seventh solo exhibition with William Turner Gallery. Curtis Ripley was born in Lubbock, Texas in 1949. He currently lives and works in Los Angeles.