I am not a big portraits fan but today I have to make an exception cause Jeremy Lipking’s paintings are exceptional.
I think I generally don’t like portraits cause it is very difficult to capture the beauty of the human face. Or should I say, as we are genetically programmed to look for beauty, we are having a natural tendency to notice the finest details in face symmetry, skin tone, the ratio of different body part dimensions. This might explain why is it so easy to discover even the smallest imperfections of a portrait, no matter how faithful was its representation
And then again, painting is not about faithfully representing reality. And any personal interpretation, which might distort reality to strengthen a certain characteristic which seemed relevant to the author, may move the painting away from our idea of beauty. The very thing that makes a landscape magic may very well prove to ruin a portrait.
This is really not the case with Jeremy Lipking. His paintings are wonderful beyond words.
Jeremy’s nudes are delicate while carnal through the perfect color of the skin, through the sensuality of the transparent clothes too but primarily through antithesis to the surrounding objects.
All furniture pieces look old, eroded, covered in scratches so their imperfection may distinguish the beauty of the female body.
You can see this in the painting to the right, where the chair, the bed, even the plaster on the wall are unexpectedly harsh. The rags that carelessly cover her are showing a vulgar poverty so that her naked bosom can escape vulgarity.
The portrait of Rachel (next to the last) really deserves the American Portait Society prize (Jeremy Lipking won this award in 2006).
Here are some more works by Jeremy Lipking.
Do not forget, the selection here only represents my own taste, not yours, not the author’s.
Please visit his website to form your own opinion.