The Bride Stripped By Her Bachelor's, Even

Marcel Duchamp, The Bride Stripped Bare By Her Bachelor’s, Even, 1915-23

Elizabeth Hawes was a fashion designer and critic of the 30’s, 40’s and well into the 20th century who wrote a book called “Why is a Dress?” and is known for a particular quote that reads

“It is impossible to be completely abstract about clothes because they have no life unless they are worn. They must fit onto a body or they do not exist.” 

 I thought I would respond with showing you fashion designer Lee McQueen creating a wedding dress through a process of deconstruction in his signature style while Nick Knight films him. Contrasts abound of the sinister in white. Materials get stripped down to a lonely affair of imprisonment and loss. Very powerful, darkly poetic, removed from typical wearable constructs and expressive through and through. The title of Lee’s piece The Bridegroom Stripped Bare is in reference to Marcel Duchamp’s the hard- to- decipher The Bride Stripped Bare by her Bachelor’s, Even done between 1915-23 which can be analyzed in the category of  male and female sexual conflicts. (see first image above)


Dark or light the power of deconstruction in design can inform the artist on how to construct new design. It is a very useful strategy for shaping and arranging form towards innovation.

Stay tuned for more on “Why is a dress?”



I love everything about Kippen: her work, her thoughtfulness, her wisdom and the integrity around her pursuit. She can draw white to feel sunny, gloomy or icey, she makes the intangible tactile, and I feel as though she takes us to these individual worlds as if we were non-human creatures. The visuals below are complex studies; each recorded moment on paper is different to the next and yet we feel space without a sense of time, interiors meet exteriors and the paths of the eye keep continuing and returning. A remarkable delicate treat. Thank you for being in my life!


 Where do you begin on paper? Is there a particular mark you rely on in a particular space that starts you off? or is it different every time?

By the time I’ve cut the paper (I use watercolor paper that comes in 10 yard rolls) and stuck on 8 linen tape tabs so I can pin the paper on the studio wall, I’ve wrestled with that paper enough so I can  just grab a piece of charcoal and start randomly making gesture marks, any marks.  It is a physical act above all else.  Even if I’ve cut and tabbed three or four large pieces to have a supply of prepared paper, I still feel entitled to start any and every where I want on a new piece of paper, even if it has taken me a few months to get to the last piece I’ve prepared.

 There is an absence of color in some works, how come? what draws you to your uncomplicated palette?

Untitled 2013 I-2

drawing on paper, 42″ x 52″,  2013,


I’m inclined to say it’s because I had  my formative art making experiences in sculpture, working in raw plastilene, plaster and then steel.  I think I’m more interested in form, in general, and that doesn’t require much color – more a question of tonal variation.  Also, my work is increasingly tied to a sense of place. I have been living in the same exact location for almost 20 years now, walking these woods and dirt roads, and four years ago I moved my studio into this building as well. For much of the year it is the blue tone of the sky that appears intermittently, and the rest is earth tones and tonal variations of white.  I appreciate color when I see it, but left to my own devices in the green months, I’d rather be down by the brook looking at the water and the rocks.  So it is simply a matter of what I see around me that determines my palette.

 Your work feels like a form of pre-language, a state of what we know before we learn the language of our culture. I am so curious are you working from memories? narratives that form and go? tangents of conversations that take you elsewhere?  imagery to no imagery? or are you in a free-floating empty and contemplative state? elaborate if you can.


Drawing on paper, 42″x 52″ , 2014,

 As I have kept working, I have become increasingly aware that what engages me most in this place is the constant shifting of the pattern of water in all of its states;  liquid, snow and cloud.  There are also the more subtle shifting in patterns apparent in the woods including, for instance, tree falls that allow more light to enter the forest floor.  Over time, these patterns seem to form a process.  I suspect that what you are calling “pre-language” might refer to these on-going patterns and processes that are apparent not only to us humans, but to all living creatures. What I am trying to do is to describe the processes by depicting the patterns.  In the case of describing the shifting shapes of snow in the landscape, I can work from the visual information I get by looking out the window in the front door.  When it is warmer, I take some paper and charcoal outside and  sketch forms that catch my eye, whatever they are.  How these images become part of my drawings is in fact more intuitive.  It often seems that the next right form suggests itself in the context of the drawing itself, arrived at from some internal library I have amassed by the act of sketching.

 Whenever I look at your work I feel like I am journeying through landscapes of tracks, holes, shrubs over and between crevices, cliffs and rocks. How would you describe the presence of landscape in your work? How do you see your continuous fields?

Untitled 2013 IV-3

drawing on paper, 42″ by 52 “, 2014,


A neighbor and fellow artist, Michael Sacca, recently told me that he thought of my work as mindscapes that are rooted in our common landscape.  To follow your lead, the sense of journeying in the drawings might spring from my spending time tromping around the woods behind the homestead. The cliffs and rocks and the continuous fields, now that I think of it, could be a result of what our conservation biologists call “windshield surveys”.  As I drive our northbound stretch of VT Interstate 89, the cliffs and rocks are the result of blasting required to create the highway, and the view of distant farmed landscape appears now and again giving the illusion of continuous fields.  Last August, while I was working on a nearly finished drawing mostly in blue tones, a smallish triangular shape began to emerge in the drawing and I went for an ochre pastel to mark it, for no apparent reason.  That afternoon, driving on the interstate, something caught my eye down in the valley to the left, and there it was;  a field of mown hay. My ochre shape.

 How would you describe your state of mind before you begin? Is it different with every drawing?

Kippen II

drawing on paper, 42″ by 52 “, 2015,



Untitled 2013 I-2

drawing on paper, 42″ by 52 “, 2013,


Mostly I’m curious as to what the drawing will be like by the time I’m finished with it.  These drawings go through so many stages that I’ve become accustomed to begin with a kind of give and take:  I draw some gestural marks with charcoal, those marks lead to so something else.  Maybe they get wiped off  but another form starts taking shape.  Or maybe I get really interested in some clump of snow on a tree branch or a rock I pick up that is in some way relevant to the work.

I sense your work articulates the fragility of boundaries and edges with clusters of organic shapes that appear and disappear intangibly rather than a focus on one particular area of one kind of motif or shape. Does living in Vermont have anything to do with this kind of ‘geography’ or visual construction you reveal on paper?


At this time, the single most compelling reason for my stubborn insistence on living as I do in rural Vermont is that I am able here, as I hope I’ve described, to get a fleeting, intermittent yet real sense of a process that has all to do with appearances but somehow alludes to more than appearances.  If the resulting work has echoes of fragility and intangibility as you say, that is the “hard won line” I’m after.  It is, after all, my attempt to answer the question that attracted me to philosophy as a college student:  “what’s really going on here?”  I am not taking a naive or nostalgic stance here, but rather, eyes wide open.


What are some of the drawing materials you use on paper?

I start with vine charcoal because it is so forgiving.  After I’ve been working a while I might start erasing back in some areas and then use conte crayon to make more definite marks in those areas.  Then perhaps a little earth tone in the form of pigment saturated soft pastel. As I begin to make more articulated forms, eventually I will need  to make some real changes that often entail eliminating a form that no longer works in the drawing. That’s where the erasing, the white pastel and the gesso get applied.  Again, as I discover areas that I think work well, I use the liquid gel medium to protect them from being rubbed out.  There often comes a time  after much work that the drawing seems to flounder.  At that point it is often helpful to rub the drawing over its entire surface, revealing intricate patterns which emerge as by-products of the initial layers of charcoal, gesso and gel medium.

Kippen I

drawing on paper, 2015,


 What is the difference in your creative process between working large scale to small? Is there another kind of feeling and thinking going on moving between scale of works?


I like what I heard (was it Guston who said this?) that when you are working large, the work engulfs you.  When you work small, you engulf the work.  There is so much give and take in my work and moving forms around and getting suggestions of new forms from the hints from already drawn forms that I like to have room to move around within the drawing. The 42”x52” format is as small as I can get while still feeling that I have the space I need.  For now, I have stopped making small work except as series of charcoal gesture drawings.

 I love how I can feel all the seasons and a variety of temperatures in your work even though I am seeing roughly a similar palette in each of them. At times I am looking at frozen ground, and cloudy smoggy impenetrable skies to hot spring day to the end of fall, does weather play a part in your work? If not what do you make of the remarkable subtleties in each work with such a clearly distinct style that is yours alone?


Perhaps what you are seeing is the result of my working on each of these drawings over an extended period of time – several seasons.  In the course of working on any given drawing I will be responding to the environmental cues around me at that point in time.  In the most recent work completed this winter, the influence of snow shapes is obvious. The subtlety is the result of having learned to erase, then draw, then save what I like, then erase and then to be willing to erase the “best” part so as to make the drawing work on its own terms.  I had a teacher once who said that erasing something fabulous is never a waste; it will come back later in another drawing. While this may not literally be true, it is certainly a comforting thought.

 Do you think your palette will change to another monochromatic range of harmonies and dissonances?

Sure, if I move to New Mexico, for instance, to that area with the amazing red landscape. But I suspect as long as I remain here working in this manner, I will retain this palette more or less.


Who influences you and moves you and makes you think in this world we live in?

Lisa Kippen 2014 #10-2

drawing on paper, 42″ by 52 “, 2014,

Kippen 6

drawing on paper, 42″ by 52 “, 2012,

Right now I am reading The Shape of a Pocket  by John Berger.  He has a great ability to describe what artmaking is about.  I am taken especially by his assertion that artists are not creators, per se, but receivers.  We are in collaboration with that which we see in order to make our work. That is certainly congruent with my experience.  Another recent influence is the poet Jean Valentine; her Lucy poems. “Lucy” is the 3 million-year-old skeleton of the earliest known hominid discovered, and the poems fuel my determination to see and receive and respond with my work in the most rigorous manner possible.


All images are the intellectual property of Lisa Kippen. If you want more info about her work please contact her at



W. David Powell

The Art of  W. David Powell

Venus does Venice, 2013

Venus does Venice, collage on paper, 14 x 11″, 2013


What does the W in your name stand for?

I see you are starting with easy questions. William.

Do all the things you do flow through your art practice of thinking and making? and/or are you thinking of it but maybe not doing it 24/7? 

While everything I do is not truly applicable to my art practice, much of my life revolves around it. I am      fortunate that my day job as a college art teacher focuses my thinking on the formal aspects of art making and design, so even when I am not making my personal work, a lot of my waking hours are spent in conscious thought about ongoing and gestating projects.

rio blanco riding society

From the archives of the Rio Blanco Riding Society, cut paper on collage, 20 x 16″, 2011

Do you know why you are doing what you are making visible to many others? Where does the urge come from, you think?

I am a maker—a creator. I supposed that I am wired that way. I don’t believe it is a rational decision. As you express it—it is an urge.

You are gifted and talented and do you see yourself as unique as well? How do you see yourself today as an artist? 

Thank you. I do not see myself as truly unique. I am constantly reminded by other artists, as well as by writers and scientists, that my quests are not unique, but have elements of universality.

How do you see the role of the artist today? Does it differ from the ancients? 

The truly ancients had elements of ritual and tribute that dominated their art. As patronage became a part of the process, perhaps this was somehow subjugated. I suppose my art is coming from a place that the surrealists were investigating… that of being a conduit for the unconscious and “invisible forces”.  I have no firm definition of the artist of today. The art world is very wide open now. There seem to be so many personal and subjective directions for creation that it is both vast and mercurial.

DP. peasant dance_10x16_2013

Peasant Dance, Cut paper collage on found picture, 16.25 x 10″, 2013


Do you believe artists have a responsibility outside of themselves and towards their culture in any way?

Culture seems global now—and corporate. I have no debt to it. Community seems more appropo to creating meaning and change, but in my fine art practice I am not engaged with either in a conscious way. It is just not the way I think or work. I also have a design practice. In that area community is important. I work with performing arts organizations and a coalition of philosopher farmers in Central Vermont that have vision and purpose.

Does living in Vermont have any influence on how you go about your practice and making? if so or not, then how? or why not?

My Vermont home studio provides me with a quiet, undisturbed setting for making art without the distractions of an urban environment. I don’t make Vermont art. I just make art.

DP. strange ritual tower of hives_ blurb

Strange Ritual in the Tower of Hives, Cut paper collage on inkjet print, 20 x 16 “, 2011


What lead you to using Photoshop? I know you collage, draw and paint but why is it predominantly your medium now? Do you think this will change?

I was an early adopter of the mac platform in 1984 and Photoshop when it became available. I seldom draw or paint and digital imaging plays an increasingly minor role in my current art production. To a large degree I have gone retrograde and have returned to a medium that I used in the past, traditional cut and paste collage.

Do you think your work would have an entirely different ‘reading’ if it were completely painted or drawn? 

Since my images are appropriated, yes. The physicality and tactility of the original source materials inevitably enter into the reading.

Does the subject matter of your work come from your experience(s) lived, examined and reflected and then you weave it around a focus and/or are you conceptually driven first which you then seek your visual content after? Could you elaborate on how reflection, experience, collecting imagery and composing come together for you in your artistic practice?

In my current mode the collecting comes first (and is ongoing), the random associations come next and the reflection comes after a number of pieces from similar sources come together. The work is not predetermined. It would then become merely illustration. My work in drawing and painting feels overdetermined and interest me less.

DP. Portrait of the Artist as an Ass BLURB

Portrait of the Artist as an Ass, cut paper collage, 14 x 11″, 2012


Your work is akin to the field of remixing as opposed to creating an ‘original’ from no external sourcing or a personal narrative from scratch that doesn’t ‘collect’ and reconfigure into new contexts. I think your work weaves both but would you say your overriding critical concerns about where humankind is heading with ‘progress’ at the helm is more important right now? Can you explain your creative methods and strategies and those relationships to the content of your work?

The illusion of “progress” crops up over and over again in the work. I just can’t help myself.

What other artists, visionaries, thinkers and tinkerers are you dialoguing with?

I have a group of collage artists who I talk with fairly regularly. They all live pretty far away, so I meet with them less frequently that they meet with each other, but it is always stimulating. We call ourselves the Rio Blanco Riders and we consist of Varujan Boghosian, Peter Thomashow, Marcus Ratliff and me. On the periphery of this group is a young artist named Ben Peberdy who I met at Vermont Studio Center. He has a great mail art project going. We have been showing together for a couple of years now. Other collage artists that I admire and correspond with are Todd Bartel, Michael Oatman and Lou Beach. I cannot communicate with the dead, but if I could I would add Max Erst, Hannah Höch, Raoul Hausman and Ray Johnson to the list. I also greatly admire Wangechi Mutu, a collage artist who I see as the heir to Hannah Höch’s feminist approach to the game.

DP. some hats 5 x 6.5 cmyk

Some Hats, cut paper collage, with gouache and acrylic on birch panel, 20 x 16″


What impact has the Vermont artistic community had on you? Do you slide right into a sense of belonging with it or is it a challenge to see yourself growing here? or is it both or is ‘place’ not important for your work to thrive here, you could be anywhere flourishing?

For many years I felt like an outlier in the Vermont artistic community. The community is now more progressive and has many more farsighted contemporary practitioners. Thriving is a tricky question. While Vermont is a great place to make art, both the market for art and the institutional support of it are out of synch with the vibrant artistic community that now exists in the state.
It would be silly to blame sales and the viability of a career on the location since its a tough art market now all ‘round, but I think that the artists who reside in Vermont who are making a go of it are not doing it here in this state.

Many of the images above come from a book on Powell’s paper collages. The writing below reads like a manifesto to me and shares his thoughtful energy around image-making in the cultural machinery we live in today. 

To Be Determined afterword 

DP.wd powell signature033



All images are the property of W.David Powell. Please visit his website if you wish for more information. 

Stay tuned for next interview with artist Lisa Kippen.








Mari Velonaki- Robotic Figure in White


I just recently discovered Mari Velonaki an artist in emerging technologies and who is Director of The Creative Robotics Lab and Associate Professor at the  National Insititute for Experimental Arts in Australia .

Below is a robotic statue I think you will find impressive. She appeals to the physical senses a-typically, with virtually no signs of Classical Greek proportions.  ‘Attractive’ in a mysterious way she forces us to understand her intuitively not logically. How strange for an entity of artificial intelligence don’t you think?

What I love about Velonaki’s use of new media in Diamandini, 2013 is that we see the moments from initial impulse to ‘connect’ with erratic moments of silence in the movement between human and machine. Movement being sensory directed is her dialogue with human. Even though this contact is in a state of potential and is thus unpredictable, the interactions are poetic. Imagine we are with Diamandini.  I am convinced we would be immediately curious as to what is happening between ourselves and her together in a public space. She is by far so different from us. She is stiff like a porcelain doll and white as milk. She is a work in progress in that soon over the next few years other parts of her body will be less fixed and will perform with more motor control; for instance be able to touch.

As a figure I find her endearing, she has no language but feels like an innocent child roaming around new territory, carrying a trust into an unknown, vulnerable and socially unconditioned. Another feature of her in this stage which perhaps might change in her next phase is her neutral presence, like someone who ‘listens’ as if she hears the many unspoken conversations, or stories rambling through our head. Or even an uncanny ability to connect from a higher plane of consciousness, she is remarkable and so genuine.

Technology is like another kingdom of nature, it has been with us since we needed food, shelter and clothing. I think projects like Diamandini  are a wonderful reminder about the way we use technology- to serve us or to consume us? Either way it has equal potential to destroy and be innovative on a human level.

After seeing the video what did you notice? How do you think you would feel if this girl in white were to follow you in a public space? Do you find her threatening, amicable or a non-entity?

You can learn more about Mari Velonaki here:

STAY TUNED: Interview with Wylie Sophia Garcia coming up






Happiness for 2015 and beyond…



I think we can remember this kind smile as a universal welcome to the New Year. Have a Happy one!

on achieving happiness


“I don’t know whether the universe, with its countless galaxies, stars and planets, has a deeper meaning or not, but at the very least, it is clear that we humans who live on this earth face the task of making a happy life for ourselves. Therefore, it is important to discover what will bring about the greatest degree of happiness.”

 – Dalai Lama XIV