Inspired by seventeenth-century Dutch still-life paintings—specifically the Haarlem style of traditional laid tables—Wisconsin-based artist Beth Lipman creates large-scale, three-dimensional interpretations in glittering glass.
Like the paintings that she alludes to, Lipman’s compositions address themes of desire and consumption, growth and decay, religious and political symbolism, and the transience of life. Using varied processes combining blown, lamp-worked, solid sculpted, and kiln formed glass the artist creates tables overflowing with a multitude of glass objects. Drawing three-dimensionally with the material, Lipman uses glass as a way to frustrate the eye. She capitalizes on the way the clear glass is simultaneously attainable and intangible; forms are recognizable but the reflection and refraction of light cause the eye to question what it sees.
In addition to her sumptuous glass installations, Lipman also utilizes photography. Related to the sculptures, but existing only in a two-dimensional format, Lipman arranges her glass objects into still-life compositions for the camera’s lens. After capturing the image, she destroys and recycles the original glass pieces. What remains are images scaled to the actual objects—a fleeting moment captured in time.
Lipman’s spontaneous and expressive process results in works of art that not only capture transitory moments caught between growth and decay but also stand as timeless portraits of humanity.
Above: Photograph of the 2015 installation of the exhibition at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts.
Lipman capitalizes on the way the clear glass is simultaneously attainable and intangible; forms are recognizable but the reflection and refraction of light cause the eye to question what it sees.
Organized by the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, Montgomery, Alabama.
Sponsored by Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass, Dr. Laurie Weil and Dr. Tommy Wool, Corinna and Barry Wilson, James W. Wilson, Jr., and Wynona W. Wilson Family Foundation, and Co-Sponsors, BB&T, Karen and Marvin Campbell, Laura and Barrie Harmon, Ann Hubbert, Joan Loeb, Laura and Michael Luckett, Dawn and Adam Schloss, and Helen Till.