FotoFest Exhibitions

Matt Lipps

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In his radical reassembly of photographic imagery, Matt Lipps exploits appropriation’s inherent possibilities for generating new relationships and meaning. His recent series Home (2008) depicts contoured cut-outs of Ansel Adams’ pristine, monumental landscapes, affixed to cardboard backing and propped on a tabletop before backgrounds comprised of multi-toned photographs of the artist’s childhood home. Casting the cutouts into sharp relief, the resulting shadows heighten a sense of material process—the precise black-and white printing of the Modernist master contrasting with the abraded color reproductions of domestic record—and evokes, too, a physicality to the passing of time. By pairing particular landscape formations with particular rooms, Lipps presents what he calls “portraits through landscape” of different family members, including himself. The possession at a young age of Adams’ widely available reproductions elicited Lipps’ earliest fascination with the possibilities of the medium; the varying arrays of his background colors correspond to marketed groupings of Benjamin Moore home paint colors. Lipps’ work also reflects the artist’s reckoning with an engagement he describes as being “in-relationship-to, alongside and around” photography. Raised and practicing in California, Lipps recognizes that he lives in “the capital of that image producing media industry (Hollywood)”. Seeking to challenge his relationship to the forces of personal and professional tradition, it is Lipps’ achievement to have found and formed in the city of Los Angeles—“one hyperreal, photo postcard backdrop”—such fruitful grounds for the search for new photographic meaning.

Matt Lipps was born in northern California in 1975 and was brought up there. He received his B.F.A. from California State University, Long Beach and his M.F.A. in studio art from the University of California, Irvine, in 2004. Lipps currently lives in Los Angeles where he is the photography lab supervisor for the department of art at the University of California, Los Angeles. His photographs and sculptural works have been included in such recent solo and group exhibitions as Living History II: Asad Faulwell & Matt Lipps, Marc Selwyn Fine Art in Los Angeles; Photography Unbound, California State University, San Bernardino; Log Cabin, Jeffrey Uslip, Curator, Artists Space, New York; Tainted Love, presented by Visual AIDS, La Mama La Galleria, New York; BUMP: Recent + Rarely Seen Explicit Videos from Southern California Artists, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions; The Banality of Good, Claremont Graduate University Gallery, Claremont, California; Rendering Gender, Truman State University Art Gallery, Kirksville, Missouri; The Office, Huntington Beach, California; and in Athens, Greece at The Apartment, and the Athens Photo Festival 2008, Hellenic Centre for Photography.