Narrative Mode: Jane Fox Hipple at DODGEgallery

Contemporary abstraction aficionados: inhale a collective breath of joy when experiencing Jane Fox Hipple's (NAP #92) return to DODGEgallery on New York's Lower East Side. Then take out your notebooks. Hipple further contorts and pushes the limits of painting and total composition across a dynamic dialogue fittingly titled Corresponding Selves. — Brian Fee, Austin contributor

Jane Fox Hipple | Corresponding Selves, installation view. Photo by Jason Mandella. Image courtesy of the artist and DODGEgallery, NY.

Start with to the test of herself, its title imbuing a charged potentiality not unlike a James Joyce line. This smallish gypsum-coated board shadows a Allan McCollum “surrogate”, yet there's this nagging painted canvas bit hanging off the bottom left corner. Its neighbor holder/held is almost double in scale, and it appears as though Hipple attached a paint-soaked cotton tarp to a bare canvas, then flipped the work to face the wall, concealing much of the action beyond the wrapped and billowing fabric encroaching over the frame's boundary. Roles are reversed, as the soft cotton overruns and “holds” the traditional structural backing.

Jane Fox Hipple | holder/held, 2013, acrylic on cotton and canvas, 49 x 29 x 5 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and DODGEgallery, NY.

Jane Fox Hipple | Corresponding Selves, installation view. Photo by Jason Mandella. Image courtesy of the artist and DODGEgallery, NY.

Facing this is a quartet of similarly scaled paintings that offer a concise rubric of Hipple's exploration of materiality, specifically: adapting and circumventing structural parameters and introducing odd or commonly hidden objects to the picture plane. Epilogue A and the epically titled Queen of nonsuch, or the False Self bookend the foursome, enhanced by accumulated cotton canvas draped behind the main compositions — remnants and visual histories of Hipple's studio practice. Epilogue A incorporates a “readymade” waxy gypsum board, practically featureless beyond a decisive slashing intervention across its middle, over a sedate, brushy riff on color-field and hardedge painting (somehow she channels both of these ostensibly opposing forces at once). To its left is Overview, stippled by plaster chunks (mirrored in the paper collage across Queen of nonsuch...), frozen in a struggle with its unfurling polyester backing. A good chunk of stript's upper left side is completely missing, so Hipple painted the exposed stretcher frame, which asserts itself across the greater composition like a leaf rubbing. Five screws reemphasize the frame while acting as central optical points. It is a visual workout, to be sure, but the similar scales and serial hanging emphasizes overall coherence and encourages deeper readings.

Jane Fox Hipple | stript, 2013, acrylic on cotton, 62 x 48 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and DODGEgallery, NY.

Jane Fox Hipple | Corresponding Selves, installation view. Photo by Jason Mandella. Image courtesy of the artist and DODGEgallery, NY.

Jane Fox Hipple | uncomfortable fun, 2013, acrylic on wood, paper, and nail, 14.75 x 11.25 x 4.125 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and DODGEgallery, NY.

Wall-mates uncomfortable fun and self-written (P.S.) play with observed and actual depth, the former executed on a thick (almost cinderblock-like) wood panel, tricked out by an eye-catching nail protruding from the composition's navel, the latter a wrapper of hot-pink acrylic and motley-hued black shaped over and out from the wood's rectangularity.

Jane Fox Hipple | self-written (P.S.), 2012, acrylic on cardboard in wood, 20 x 16 x 2.5 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and DODGEgallery, NY.

Jane Fox Hipple | always on the lookout & Honeypot, 2013, acrylic on canvas and wood; acrylic on enamel and wood, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist and DODGEgallery, NY.

Hipple stretches relationships furthest with a duo of two-part works, including always on the lookout & Honeypot, positioned near the back of the main gallery. How do we read it? The oversized, stretched canvas, roughly stapled to a wooden frame and reversed to the wall, plays the recurring compositional stand-in. Beyond a few vague brushstrokes and a chunk of charcoal-like wood affixed dead-center on the canvas, much of the media is relegated to glossy pellets in the bowl (Honeypot), like a painterly poltergeist expelled them from the canvas. Either that, or we're seeing a work-in-frozen-progress, the pellets becoming the wooden “accumulation” on canvas, only to later be spread around or brushed on as a conventional painting. That daub of cream-colored acrylic on the bowl's edge further alludes to the artist's hand, either a sign of completion or prelude to action. It's a vibrant composition, and it hints at the notion that Hipple's dialogue, on abstraction and the whole act of painting, is far from over.

Jane Fox Hipple | to the test of herself, 2013, acrylic and oil on gypsum, wood, and canvas, 28.5 x 18.25 x 1.5 inches. Image courtesy of the artist and DODGEgallery, NY.

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Jane Fox Hipple (b. 1981; Springfield, Pennsylvania) lives and works in Montgomery, Alabama. She received her BFA at Washington University in Saint Louis in 2004 and her MFA from Tulane in 2008. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2009. Her work as been exhibited at Soho20 Gallery, New York, NY; samsøn, Boston, MA; Daily Operation, Brooklyn, NY; DODGEgallery, New York, NY; the Mills Gallery, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA; Des Lee Gallery, St. Louis, MI; Sardine, Brooklyn, NY; New Art Center, Newton, MA; and Coop Gallery, Nashville, TN. Hipple was the recipient of the 2007 Vermont Studio Center Fellowship Award and the 2010 Somerville Arts Council Fellowship. In 2011, she was an artist in residence at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forrest, IL. Corresponding Selves, Hipple's third solo exhibition at DODGEgallery, continues through October 27.

Brian Fee is an art punk based currently in Austin, TX, but he can usually be found in New York, Tokyo, or Berlin, depending on the art season.