- Pat Lipsky
Pat Lipsky is an American painter associated with
Lyrical Abstraction, Color Field Painting, and Geometric abstraction.
Lipsky grew up in
New York City. She graduated with a BFA from Cornell Universityin 1963, receiving an MFA from the Graduate Program in Painting at Manhattan's Hunter College, where she studied with the painter and sculptor Tony Smith.
Raised by a painter mother and an engineer father [Crum, Katherine. Woman's Art Journal. "Pat Lipsky and the Challenge of Formalism." Volume 14, 1993] , Lipsky had her first one-woman show in New York, at the Andre Emmerich Gallery. [Kramer, Hilton. The New York Times. "Two Interesting Talents Make Their Debut. Pat Lipsky Displays Color Field Works." 13 June, 1970] Her work at the time was strongly in the mode of “Lyrical Abstraction." (The 1970 canvas "Spiked Red" demonstrates Lipsky's then-approach: close hues, bright color waves and bursts.) In
The New York Times, the critic Hilton Kramerfound that the painter's work looked both to the aesthetic past and future: "Miss Lipsky reintroduces the drip, splatter and smear of abstract expressionism for notable anti-expressionist purposes...She also demonstrates a very clear identity of her own. Her pictures are very handsome, and it will be interesting to see how she develops what is already a bold pictorial intelligence."
Lipsky was invited to participate in the influential 1970-1971 Lyrical Abstraction exhibition which traveled the country and culminated at New York's
Whitney Museum; the critic Noel Frackman highlighted her contributions for freshness, gesture and exuberance, finding the style "sustained a mood which celebrates the sheer splendor of color. The edges of these shapes lick out like flames and there is an incendiary vividness in the impetuous yet directed forms...These are mouth-watering paintings." [Frackman, Noel. Arts Magazine. "Lyrical Abstraction." June, 1970.]
By the later seventies and eighties, Lipsky had expanded her palette to include bolder colors and geometric forms. [Kramer, Hilton. The New York Times. "Pat Lipsky." 29 October, 1976.] She had also begun to explore, as the critic Katherine Crum later wrote, a pictorial vocabulary in direct challenge to her roots in lyrical abstraction. [Crum, Katherine. Woman's Art Journal. "Pat Lipsky and the Challenge of Formalism." Volume 14, 1993] By 2003, the critic
Karen Wilkinwould declare Lipsky in The New Criterionto be an "unrepentant abstract painter." [Wilkin, Karen. The New Criterion. "Anywhere In Between." June, 2003.] Wilkin found in the work, "A lifetime's accumulated experience of all kinds, including the experience of looking at art. That, of course, is what all art worth taking seriously—whether abstract, figurative, or somewhere in between—is supposed to address."
In the 1980s and 1990s Lipsky continued to refine her broader color concerns, achieving a brooding, more sharply-defined palette. A selection of works from this period, "The Black Paintings," was exhibited in Miami in 1994 [Turner, Elisa. The Miami Herald. "Diamonds and Other Gems." 14 January, 1994] and New York City in 1997 [Wilkin, Karen. "Pat Lipsky: The Black Paintings." Bookstein Fine Arts, 1997] . Wilkin found the "deliberately limited" dark work of this period to be "dramatic" and "powerful." [Wilkin, Karen. PAJ—Journal Of Performance And Art. MIT Press, Cambridge Mass. ""Formalist Investigations of Medieval Forms: Pat Lipsky and the Spirit of Color." January, 2003.] The critic Elisa Turner again described them as a step away from the "sleekness" of modern abstract painting, toward the direction of vertigo, emotion, and ambiguity: "This vertigo adds an unnerving, emotionally-charged twist to the tradition of sleek, impersonal abstract art…Such ambiguity about the location of lines and shapes in space is echoed in her exquisite sense of color."
The New Yorkermagazine instead drew a connection of her work in this period to the "classic" style of calmly modernist painters Piet Mondrianand Paul Klee. [Worth, Alexi. The New Yorker. "Pat Lipsky." 4 October, 1999]
In the 2000s, Lipsky began another redefinition of palette, reincorporating color within a bold central image. Writing in the New York Times, the critic Ken Johnson associated these pictures with mechanical forms and music. [Johnson, Ken. The New York Times. "Pat Lipsky." 4 April, 2003.] Noting their "seductive, egg-shell surfaces," Johnson linked them to the
minimalistpainters Frank Stellaand Ad Reinhardt. "The effect is polyrhythmic in three dimensions; the bands seem to push up and down like valves in a machine [,] enhancing the feeling of Bach-like musicality. The more you gaze at them, the more absorbing they become." Lipsky began to focus on single images presented in series. Her more recent exhibitions have contained repeating colors, in a stripped and repeated form. The painter and critic Stephen Westfall, in Art in America, called these paintings "her most successful," finding her "classicism" to be "ultimately idiosyncratic in the best sense," and finding a link to Ad Reinhart and Philip Guston: "Guston meeting Reinhardt, then; a synthesis that, however full of painting culture, feels just right in our present moment." [Westfall, Stephen. Art In America. "Pat Lipsky at Elizabeth Harris." 1 February, 2005.] The critic David Cohen, in The New York Sun, noted instead the opposite of classicism, "a steely, seemingly dispassionate composure" that contained "seething reserves of aesthetic emotion," stating, "Lipsky is not merely the dean of contemporary geometric abstractionbut its dominatrix." [Cohen, David. The New York Sun. "Pat Lipsky." 23 September, 2004.]
Karen Wilkin, reviewing Lipsky's 2006 exhibition, discovered in the work a simplicity that served the reverse function—to be ultimately liberating: "Lipsky's complex, richly allusive counterpoint demands that we pay close attention to her paintings as paintings...and then rewards us by setting free our imaginations." [Wilkin, Karen. Art in America. "Pat Lipsky." March, 2007.]
Lipksy's paintings are represented in twenty-four public collections, including The Whitney Museum, The Smithsonian's
Hirshhorn Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Walker Art Center, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, and Harvard's Fogg Art Museum.
While Lipsky is sometimes identified with the
Post-Painterly Abstractionschool centered around the critic Clement Greenberg, a long-time friend of the painter [ [http://www.myartspace.com/blog/2007/08/art-space-talk-pat-lipsky.html/ Sherwin, Brian. "Artspace Interview with Pat Lipsky." 9 September, 2007] ] , others have disputed this view. [Crum, Katherine. Woman's Art Journal. "Pat Lipsky and the Challenge of Formalism." Volume 14, 1993] In a 2007 interview, Lipsky listed a broad range of influences, from outside the field of visual arts: :"I'm interested in what 'difference' means. My reading of Proust and Eliot, my viewing of Bellini and Giorgione and Titian and Albers and Cornell and Pollock, my listening to Bach and Thelonius Monk, my liking Eric Rohmer and Monty Python might seem totally unrelated, but they teach the same lesson: differences matter. When Monk plays a single note instead of another, a piece is either saved or ruined. When Albers puts a white next to a yellow, the yellow is changed—and the white is changed too. If Proust chooses to follow one character instead of another, to write fifty pages instead of four, the reader's experience is altered in the most intimate and immediate way. We look at works of art as single large units—but they’re actually composed of hundreds, of thousands of individual and tiny units, each one a decision. It’s those units that I’ve been experimenting with throughout my career." [Sherwin, Brian. "Artspace Interview with Pat Lipsky." 9 September, 2007.] Lipsky has also discussed the influence of first-generation abstract expressionistslike Mark Rothkoand Jackson Pollock, along with second-generation painters like Helen Frankenthalerand Morris Louis, as well as her mentor, Tony Smith. [Lipsky, Pat. "What Tony and Lee and Clem Told Me: A Reminiscence." Pat Lipsky Papers, [http://www.aaa.si.edu/collections/collections_list.cfm/fuseaction/Collections.ViewCollection/CollectionID/6089/ Smithsonian Archives of American Art] ]
National Academy of DesignInvitational Exhibition
Lincoln CenterPrint Editions "Keyboard Variations"
American Academy and Institute of Arts and LettersHassam Speicher Betts Purchase Prize
Adolph and Esther Gottlieb FoundationGrant
* 1999 Jerome Foundation, "Dark Love" (the Black Paintings)
* 1998 New York Foundation for the Arts, "Dark Love"
* 1998 New York State Council on the Arts, "Dark Love"
* 1996 New York Foundation for the Arts, Painting in Ireland
* 1992 New York Foundation for the Arts, Painting in France
* 1972 New York State Council on the Arts
*History of International Art, Mario Monteverdi (Editor),Universita' Della Arti, Italy, 1981-1992.
* Trends and testimonies of Contemporary Art, Accademia Italia, Salsomaggiore, Italy, 1983.
* Women Artists in America, 18th Century to the Present, Jim Collins and Glenn Opitz (Editors), New York, 1980.
* Who's Who In American Art, Allison McGowan (Editor), 2004 (25th Edition).
* Pat Lipsky Papers, Lipsky, Pat, Smithonian Archives of American Art, Washington, D.C., 1997.
* [http://www.myartspace.com/blog/2007/08/art-space-talk-pat-lipsky.html Interview with Pat Lipsky]
* [http://www.patlipsky.com/ Pat Lipsky Page]
* [http://www.artcritical.com/DavidCohen/SUN68.htm David Cohen on Pat Lipsky]
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