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Artist Beth Lipman installation comes to Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art
Beth Lipman.

KANSAS CITY, MO.- The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art announces two new works on view in the Museum by Wisconsin-based multi-media artist Beth Lipman. Pocket Watch, Book, Skull and Candles (2011) and Still Life with Kudzu (2010) are on view at the Kemper Museum for several months. Museum admission is free.

Pocket Watch, Book, Skull and Candles is a large-scale still-life photograph of pristine glass objects, including a decanter, goblet, scull, and flowers in a vase set against a saturated black background. Lipman’s Still Life with Kudzu is a sculptural installation of glass vessels and objects carefully arranged on a table and placed in front of a white surface wallpapered with hundreds of glass pieces shaped like kudzu leaves. These stunningly arranged works, shown opposite one another in the Museum’s atrium, reflect Lipman’s interest in the mimetic qualities of 17th-century Northern Renaissance still-life tradition combined with her ability to control and capture the present. By using the craft processes of hot sculpting and blowing glass she brings the symbolism, beauty, and politics of this historical painting genre to life in two and three dimensions.

Lipman’s use of glass creates a tangible third dimension, capturing the polished qualities of 17th-century still life painting; the smooth and lustrous surfaces of the opulent glass objects fool the viewer’s eye; the clear quality of the material and empty vessels convey frustrated efforts to claim or own what is seen. The absence of color in both of these works captures the essence of the objects and offers a counterpoint to the trompe l’oeil (deception of the eye) effects rendered in still life paintings. Lipman notes that “[a]s with painting, glass makes perishable objects everlasting,” rendering the compositions simultaneously in the process of formation and decay.

Still Life with Kudzu is on loan from Christy and William C. Gautreaux, and Pocket Watch, Book, Skull and Candles was a generous gift from the couple to the Kemper Museum in 2012.

Beth Lipman lives and works in Sheboygan Falls, WI. She has had solo museum exhibitions at the Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA (2005); Rhode Island School of Design Museum, Providence, RI (2008); the Museum of Wisconsin Art, West Bend, WI (2009); Institute of Contemporary Art, Portland, ME (2010); Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach, FL (2012); and the Moses Myers House, Chrysler Museum of Art, Norfolk, VA (2103). Her work has been shown in group exhibition at the Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC (2007); Milwaukee Art Museum, WI (2009); Art Institute of Chicago, IL (2009); Museum of Art and Design, New York, NY (2010); Oklahoma City Museum of Art, OK (2012); and the Racine Art Museum, WI (2013). Lipman has received numerous awards including a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Grant, Wisconsin Arts Board Fellowship, and a Ruth Chenven Foundation Grant. Her work is in the collections of the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; Brooklyn Museum of Art, NY; Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, DC; Corning Museum of Glass, NY; and the Detroit Institute of Arts, MI, among many others.

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