Of the thirteen new works Beth Lipman will unveil Saturday, June 25th, at an opening at Claire Oliver Gallery in New York City, none include the material of glass with which she made her career. Instead, the works in the exhibition entitled "Distill" are primarily cast iron. For this body of work, Lipman made dioramas by arranging ancient flora, such as conifer and ginkgo, alongside pieces of miniature furniture in cardboard boxes, which were then filled with molten iron. The result is a series of fossil-like tableaus, where seemingly ancient pieces of modern furniture are overtaken by organic matter.
Lipman has worked outside of glass in the past. In an email exchange with the GLASS Quarterly Hot Sheet, she says "several years ago I completed a body of work in clay at Kohler pottery [Lipman was a 2015 John Michael Kohler Arts/Industry Resident] and I have also worked in fibers, so I don’t consider the shift to another material to be that unusual." Future projects will see her utilizing glass again, as well as metal, video, and photography.
Though Lipman's latest body of work leaves glass out, her recurring investigation of overconsumption and the environment remain front and center. "This work is a continued exploration of deep time and material culture," she says. Take, for instance, her preceding show at Claire Oliver, "Laid (Time-)Table with Cycads," which built upon her earlier glass replicas of opulent Dutch still-life paintings by adding three glass cycads growing through a table adorned with vases, decanters, and fruits. The opposition between the decadence of human culture and the enduring power of nature was set in full force as the Paleozoic plants grew unimpeded by the crowded, overwrought table setting.
The new work in iron takes this commentary a step further, starting with the means of production. Lipman confirmed that these eco-cultural concerns were what led her to the casting process; by casting the dioramas in iron, Lipman creates an exact replica of them whilst simultaneously destroying the original -- a suitable analogy for human treatment of both luxury objects and the environment in the Anthropocene era.
IF YOU GO:Beth Lipman
June 25th -- August 6th, 2016
Claire Oliver Gallery
513 W 26th St.
New York City