Lipper spent much of the early part of his career traveling and exploring. Several painting trips to Italy and other parts of Europe inspired paintings of decaying cityscapes and ageing fishermen. “The beauty I discovered while traveling still overwhelms me. It has left a lasting impression.” Whether backpacking alone, with his wife along the Cinque Terre, or pedaling the red clay roads of the Tuscan hills with a friend, Gabriel was always painting.
Closer to home, Lipper became fascinated by the aggressive lifestyles of rodeo cowboys and ranchers in his home state of Oregon. Lipper’s sold out one-man show National Cowboy drew parallels between these men and the U.S soldiers at war. In his painting Exit Strategy, thick backgrounds of ochre surround a black bull and its red, white and blue rider as a rodeo clown crouches at the ready “I grew up across the road from a field with a couple of cows, framed in a barbed wire fence,” Gabriel muses. “The National Cowboy series brought back the memory of that dusty road in the summer heat.” The paintings are direct and vivid with bits of Gabriel’s signature purple line work showing through.
Two of Lipper’s current series of paintings Urban Legend and Thoroughbred examine the Dionysian beauty and indulgent luxury of contemporary culture. “I host cocktail parties and paint the people who show up,” says Lipper. His ability to “paint the people who show up,” translates into brilliant paintings filled with lush color and strong brushwork, creating evocative moods. Lipper’s figures are beautifully rendered with strong light and confident form, a nod to his academic background, while his compositions and subjects are anything but academic. His paintings seduce viewers into an opulent world. Searching eyes and empty glasses engage us while others stay lost in their own introspection. The backgrounds dance with heavy impasto paint and heady color. His narrative subjects exist in an environment of painterly abstraction. “I’ve always been a bit of a voyeur. Hopefully, by observing the surface, I’m able to glean a bit of understanding as to what’s going on inside.”
The people in Gabriel’s paintings vary wildly. Bull riders, a woman lost in her thoughts, vacant hipsters, a seasoned magnate, are all painted with the same love and respect. Lipper’s love of art, and respect for the muse are the driving forces behind what he chooses to paint.