Jeff Whipple

This series of paintings and sculpture was from 1995 to around 2001. It depicts the modern person in the realm of a life that is intertwined with social, commercial, political and psychological obsessions or fixations. Those obsessions/fixations are symbolically represented by objects that are interacting with people.


The objects may be considered for their general purpose, i.e. bombs as bombs, or as metaphor where bombs represent anxieties or life pressures. It depends on the context presented in the work and of course, what the viewer brings to it. Many of my paintings are meant to be whimsical considerations of our contemporary lifestyle. People are constantly fighting off or looking for something to be obsessed with. Theres an ever-changing plethora of products, fads, slogans, distractions or habits that are either obsessively desired or obsessively repulsed. Everyone seems to be juggling caffeine and sugar addictions along with manic work and leisure schedules. This is symbolically depicted in my sculpture and paintings with objects like coffee cups, donuts or time bombs.


Each painting or sculpture shows the different ways people relate to the objects. Some people are heading into the objects as if walking into a strong breeze. That may imply that they are bravely doing battle with the objects. In some paintings, people are flying along with the objects as if they are being taken for a ride. In other paintings the objects seem to pursue the people as if they are tormenting them. There are many paintings and sculptures depicting people pursuing the objects. That may imply a tremendous desire for the object.

The format (painting style and mode of presentation) for this series developed through more than twenty years of my work. The images are placed against a painterly background instead of a realistic setting. I do that to remind the viewer that these are paintings, not illusions and that the relationships of the images are the point, not the surreality of the scene. I also use the background painting to create a mood. The markings in the background can have an emotional effect. Busy, scribbly markings and high contrast colors can evoke agitated, aggressive emotions. Smooth, low contrast markings and colors can evoke soothing, serene emotions. (Think of the background paint affecting the imagery in the way music affects lyrics.) The repeated three markings arent meant to symbolize anything. They are a design device that provides a visual rhythm and gives order to the more random markings.