The Populist Camera

March 21-May 10, 2014


Jessica Silverman Gallery is pleased to present “The Populist Camera,” a solo show of new photographs by Matt Lipps.  The exhibition consists of intriguing still lives that combine appropriated imagery with personal photographs. Using collage strategies, sculptural tropes and theater staging techniques, Lipps’s series is a requiem for analog image-making, which is relevant to the ubiquity of photography in the digital age.

The source material of Lipps’s series comes from a seventeen-volume set of books called Library of Photography, published in the 1970s by Time-Life. Meant to be a comprehensive how-to manual, the books were illustrated with hundreds of mostly black and white photographs. Lipps has cut out and assembled almost 500 figures from the books, building cardboard structures for them, so they become autonomous, moveable “actors,” representing divergent realities, on a multi-tiered proscenium.

The colorful backgrounds of the series come from 35mm photographs taken by Lipps when he was a photography student. The warm emotional color of the authored photographs contrasts dramatically with the cool distant appearance of the appropriated ones. The combination of authored and found photographs creates a tension between the subjective and objective uses of the medium and its perspectives on history.

Matt Lipps received his MFA from the University of California, Irvine. His work is in the collection of Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, The Pilara Foundation/Pier 24 and the Saatchi Gallery. He is Assistant Professor of Art at San Francisco State University.