Volume 96, Issue 62
Tuesday, January 21, 2003

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Escape is truly at hand for this Travelling Man

By Charmaine Ho
Gazette Writer

Gazette file photo
TV BUILDING (oil on canvas, 1991). Kipping's paintings in Travelling Man shed light on the artist's travel experiences.

Brian Kipping is a unique and talented artist who draws inspiration from his travels throughout Canada and parts of Europe.

Paintings of diners, street scenes and industrial sites are created from Kipping's photographs of the urban world. He experiments with a variety of canvases, paints, sizes and layouts. The strong use of light in Kipping's work conveys a sense of atmosphere and allows viewers to place themselves within the context of each painting.

The most distinct characteristic of Kipping's work is the absence of people; only the natural elements found in the surrounding environment are used as centerpieces.

Kipping does a brilliant job of convincing the viewer of the realistic nature of his paintings. Stepping back from "Crossroads, Venice" (oil on board, 1995), viewers can get a sense of visiting the alley themselves. The calmness and stillness reflected in this painting are the defining elements of the work. The use of texture and three-dimensional perspective capture the alley exactly as it was seen through the lens of the camera.

The painting entitled, "Construction Diptych" (oil on linen on board, 1999) is a still shot of an industrial site. The scene is detailed, and through the use of tones and colour, the focus is placed on the foreground action – the actual construction. The city exists only as a background, much like what Kipping would have seen through his travels – a first hand look at the action of the city.

The work "Street Scene" (oil on linen, 2002) is one of Kipping's most recent works. It is here that his talent shines through in his master manipulation of light. The work has a surreal aspect: the blurring of colours in the painting leaves the viewer pondering the familiarity of the scene, and the careful use of light creates an absence of time distinction.

Overall, Kipping's art is much like a snapshot series of his life's travels. He can identify what all viewers have seen before and provide them with a new perspective. Kipping's passion for detail makes him a true master of the "hand-painted photograph."

Travelling Man is a worthwhile exhibit to catch and it may even awaken the traveller inside the viewer. Kipping's work has also been displayed in the Art Gallery of Ontario, the City of Toronto Archives and the Kamloops Art Gallery in British Columbia.

Brian Kipping's Travelling Man is available for viewing at the Michael Gibson Gallery (157 Carling St.) until Feb. 1.


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