Curtis Ripley was born in Lubbock, Texas in 1949. Received his MFA from University of Wisconsin.
Taking cues from the anti-figurative aesthetic of American Abstract Expressionists, Ripley’s process is one of spontaneity and gesture. Color is applied in broad strokes atop a black gesso surface. The paintings show the marks of their creation - splatters and drips are allowed to live on the surface, serving as reminders of the artist’s process. Ripley uses brushes and rags to wipe out and repaint the surface, obscuring previous layers while gradually building up others to create even deeper space and movement. As Ripley says of his work - “My hope is to create paintings that are timeless and poetic and full of life.”
Much like the pioneers of abstraction that came before him, Jackson Pollock and Wassily Kandinsky, music plays an important role in Ripley’s creative process. His rhythmic brushstrokes dance across the canvases and these flickering flashes of color result in bursts of sparkling light. Ripley’s paintings are lyrical - he cites poetry as a key influence, stating, “It is the economy of means, the resistance to strict interpretation and the intimate relationship with the viewer which I find essential. These paintings are not puzzles. They are meant to be experienced.”