Thursday, November 01, 2007

Not Yet Titled

In my final year of grad school, I picked up a postcard with the Susan Lipper image below and was entranced - in fact, it still sits on my bookshelf. At the time, I was working on a series of large scale diptychs and had not resolved all the issues of the work. While my work wasn't really succeeding, I was attracted to the messy, problematic inconsolability of the images. Although radically different, Lipper's work offered hope that the differences, ruptures and questions that arose from the pairing could become part of the work and enrich its meaning.

© Susan Lipper, All Rights Reserved

Lipper's series, Not Yet Titled (1999-2004), is a fascinating and thorny exploration of post-cold war angst. As she states,Functioning as a time capsule of associations, this series is perhaps more defined by its dates than by words. The images began as a loose narrative in 1999. At the time, I found myself drawn to military and Cold War references. Equally I was seeking an unembodied vantage point, one not set in a specific geographic locale.

© Susan Lipper, All Rights Reserved

Although well-known for her book Grapevine, a portrait of rural West Virginia, her work can also be found in the excellent book Trip, which is readily available and criminally cheap. Paired with the short fiction of Frederick Barthelme, the book is a "fictional non-narrative" and follows a enigmatic road trip through the arcane corners of America. It rare to find a smart take on the exhausted road trip genre and Lipper succeeds.