Beth Lipman, an artist known for hand-sculpted and clear, blown-glass re-imaginings of historical still-life painting, has created a new installation especially for the RISD Museum. When Lipman visited here in October 2007, she was drawn to the galleries in Pendleton House, which is recognized as the first museum wing in the country dedicated to American decorative arts. Inspired by the rich collection of objects from the past displayed in these “period rooms,” Lipman addresses issues of aging and decay as well as material consumption and wealth.
The exhibition features a number of components, all made of glass: a full-size settee and wallpaper, both based on examples in the RISD Museum’s collection; two framed “portraits”; a topiary centerpiece; 500 snails; two squirrels; and a large “laid table.” Nonetheless, the environment as a whole, which is both lush and pristine, takes precedence over its individual elements.
The artist made some of the installation’s parts in collaboration with students in RISD’s glass department. Lipman utilizes a range of techniques that includes kiln-forming, lamp-working, and kiln-casting, in addition to hand-sculpting and blowing. After You’re Gone combines Lipman’s love of objects and glassmaking with her interest in museum presentations of the arts and crafts of previous eras. Along with considerable research and planning, spontaneity and risk also play an important role in the work. Lipman allows for breakage and often rearranges or completes components as she places them when she is on site in the gallery.
Beth Lipman (American, b. 1971) received a BFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University, Philadelphia, in 1994. She currently lives and works in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin.