Artist Geoff Hippenstiel (b. July 6, 1974) cultivates the ambiguities of abstract representation with his lushly painted canvases. Each is a presence to be reckoned with, a thing vibrant and almost alive in its physicality. Hippenstiel is drawn to that thingly quality of a painting’s being, its sheer existence, and a powerful and dynamic application of oil and impasto give his works an urgent sense of materiality. But from all that musculature something like a recognizable world tantalizes (and sometimes disturbs) the viewer.
Hippenstiel identifies with and draws inspiration from artists as diverse as Robert Ryman and Willem DeKooning, whose individual explorations concerning surface and tactility are akin to his own. However, he is perhaps more intent than these precursors on delving into assumptions about what constitutes a conventional painting, exploring variations in the nature of the paint itself. The artist’s use of spray enamel, metallic, and fluorescent paints alongside traditional oils is exceptional: a canvas dense with earthy greens or pale yellows is electrified with a single swipe of neon pink; in another, metallic gold or silver plays against thickly applied, buttery, and colorful elements, yielding a highly original eye popping effect.