Friday, March 4, 2016

Meg Lipke

We all forget to slow down: to take a longer walk, relish in what we eat, or look at art for more than one second at a time. I had the opportunity to spread a visit with Meg Lipke out over a couple of Saturdays last month while she got ready for her solo show at Freight + Volume's new space in the LES. We started our meetings with lunch at Northeast Kingdom, the beloved Bushwick restaurant that Meg and her husband Paris Smeraldo opened in the Fall of 2005, before the onslaught of others quickly followed in their tracks. After eating our juicy huevos rancheros and unstoppable fried chicken sandwiches, Lipke and I would go for a walk, pick up a coffee, and slowly make our way to her studio, letting our extensive conversations about her work and mine marinate. We were taking our time, and in that time I was able to draw the saturated overflow of rich colors and strong soft forms that expand beyond the canvas and imagination in Lipke's studio.

Growing up, I spent many hours in a costume design studio. My father taught in the theater department of a University, and it was my preferred place to be plopped when I was with him on my days off. I watched how the magical recipe of bright fabrics, tight stitches, and stuffing made things come to life. This same recipe is igniting Lipke's work; personalities grow out of the slightest slump of her forms. Skeletal-like structures, painted with the high contrast colors of vintage circus costumes, sway on the wall next to cushioned planks adorned with zigzag patterns and sewn into unlikely compositions. A large architectural configuration comfortably leans back, purposefully faded in color, but not in character. Lipke's paintings, on both stretched and sewn-together canvas, are wonderfully animated, and read like a 21st century re-imaging of the space between abstract expressionism and pop art.
Northeast Kingdom still holds the reigns for the best place to decelerate and eat delicious locally sourced food. Lipke also lives near Hudson, spending a large portion of her time in her studio there and with her three children and Husband. She is not only growing great art, but also a family and food for their restaurant, truly inspirational. I urge you to go see her show opening this Sunday March 5th at Freight and Volume. And to see more of her work go here

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