Huston Ripley’s drawings are composed with black ink on folded-over Japanese paper. From a distance, their dense, intense patterns bring to mind tantric mandalas, or Persian motifs. Their repetition is deceptively simple. Like a Mandelbrot pattern they are flat but infinitely transfixing. Ripley approaches each drawing the same way, as a continuous act, drawing after drawing is made as the artist’s inner psyche bleeds out from pen to paper. Each drawing has a central plateau full of organic references to the Self as it plays out its un-ending power struggles: Lust vs. Death. Phallus vs. Vulva. Yin vs. Yang. This is encased in border after border, each richly detailed with a variety of designs, body parts, and sigils. The figures within them do comfort or confront us, they continually beckon us to come a little closer, and a little deeper. One does not find answers in Huston Ripley’s drawings, only traces of his endless search for them.
Gary Gissler’s paintings and works on paper also make use of monochromatic repetition, density and intensity. However, Gissler uses language as a subject and a medium. He is drawn to the physical aspects of language. Within his works text is often hidden, or displayed with varying degrees of opacity and legibility. In some cases, a wood panel might contain a tiny word written in pencil again and again and again, so that word becomes pattern becomes image. At other times, Gissler might take a sentence from a certain book and spread each letter throughout the entire painting. The search for language becomes a search for meaning, and not in jest. The text sources that Gissler uses inform the artwork but are also a window into the artist’s own mind. A practicing psychoanalyst in addition to being an artist, Gissler incorporates text from both literature and the psychological sciences. In his paintings, one will find references ranging from Carl Jung to Moby Dick. One might read a sentence from The Catcher In The Rye, or a collection of adjectives from Freud’s The Interpretation Of Dreams.
By bringing the work of Gary Gissler and Huston Ripley together for the first time, an interesting sense of balance is sought out. In a sea of letters and figures, and of patterns and symbols, an elegant dialogue emerges.