Beginning on First Friday, April 6, Hanson Howard Gallery at 89 Oak St. in Ashland will feature work of Randall David Tipton. Tipton is primarily a self-taught artist, although he has spent time honing his process at numerous academic institutions in California and New Mexico.
Says Tipton: “The landscape has been my primary interest from an early age. ... I’ve been deeply influenced by the American abstract expressionists. Particularly in their belief in improvisation as (a) path to something unique and meaningful. In my brief education, I was fortunate to work with Richard Diebenkorn in the first master class at the ... Santa Fe Institute of Fine Art. It was a pivotal experience. As an avid walker, I explore, study, record and remember the various landscapes of northwestern Oregon that I move through. This is the basis of my work. My paintings are the result of trial and error, and though I have sincere regard for my subjects, my intentions are aesthetic.”
Tipton’s work is clearly influenced by the natural world, with a presentation that is strongly reminiscent of the New Mexico and Oregon “abstracted landscape” art movements of the 1970s, and with a specific reference towards the work of Forrest Moses, the preeminent Southwestern painter who continues to work well into his 80s. Tipton’s recent paintings “Before the Snow” and “Bryant Woods: April” are seminal examples of that style, made popular in the 1970s by Moses, Raimonds Staprans, Paul Wonner and others.
Tipton’s enthusiasm for Diebenkorn is also evident in earlier work such as “The Brazos,” a 48- by 30-inch oil painting, and in “Clouds and Marsh,” an oil-on-panel work that liberally borrows from the pigment and coloration of Diebenkorn’s Berkeley Series circa 1954.
Tipton has exhibited prolifically around the United States for more than 25 years, with shows at the now-defunct Davis and Cline and Aalta galleries in Ashland, and also at important regional spaces such as Evelyn Georges’ White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach and at the Coos Bay and Grants Pass Art Museums. He is currently represented at Hanson Howard, White Bird, and at Ojo Sarco Pottery in Ojo Sarco, New Mexico, as well as at the Marcia Burtt Studio in Santa Barbara, California.
He has had a series of residencies in the 2010s which have included time at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology in Otis, Oregon, the Brush Creek Ranch in Saratoga, Wyoming, the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area in California, and others. He is featured in numerous institutional and corporate collections, including the permanent collection at Southern Oregon University and Oregon Health Sciences University collections, as well as in the collection of Newsweek Magazine.
According to Hanson Howard, Tipton’s “intention is to expose and celebrate its dampness, the dark, and the fluid indeterminacy of land, light, air and water. Drawing from memory as much as from location, the result is paintings that fall elegantly between abstraction and landscape; more about impression than preciseness, they are moody and alluring spaces.”
There will be an artist’s reception from 5-8 p.m. First Friday, April 6, The solo show runs April 5 through May 1 at the gallery.
— Ashland resident Jeffrey Gillespie is a Tidings columnist, arts reviewer and freelance writer. Email him at gillespie.jeffrey@gmail.com.