Jeffrey Ripple (b. 1962–) paints exquisitely beautiful and complex still life and landscape compositions that deftly capture the evanescent beauty of nature. Ripple's compositions, usually in oil on paper, sometimes on canvas, range from ambitious orchestrations of quotidian elements, such as flowers, fruit, and glass bottles, to spare, solitary plants or objects.
The artist often sets his elements against a golden-green-colored background with no specific plane or boundary to limit the image. This textured negative space, reminiscent not only of the influences of Chinese and Japanese art but also of the gold leaf backgrounds of medieval and early Renaissance religious painting, imbues the work with spiritual overtones.
Playing mass against void, and light against shadow, Ripple stages his dramatic 'portraits' for maximum impact while retaining the essence of his subjects. This construct, says critic Nancy Grimes, generates the aura of intimacy and religious space present in Ripple's painting.1 In this way, Ripple's paintings, with their meticulously rendered and placed forms; intense palette and edge (made possible by the paper ground); unusual perspectives (the objects are often seen from above); and concentrated realism transcend traditional botanical illustration and move into the realm of the divine.
Jeffrey Ripple received his master of fine arts degree from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1988. In addition to his better-known still lifes he is also an accomplished landscape and figure painter. His work is held in several public and private collections including the Exxon Corporation, Irving, TX; the Madison Art Center, Madison, WI; and the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK.
In his newest works, mostly produced with oil paint on paper, Ripple moves toward increasingly complex and ambitious compositions, which deftly capture the evanescent beauty of nature.
In the vanitas tradition, Ripple depicts the beauty of flowers in full bloom, and loose arrangements of sumptuously ripe fruit as meditations on the fleeting nature of youth and life.
Like the works of 17th century Spanish masters Juan Sánchez Cotán and Diego de Silva y Velásquez, Ripple’s objects are meticulously rendered and placed in contrived compositions in order to draw attention to the beauty of their forms and colors.
Ripple further isolates and highlights his objects by placing them against luminous backgrounds—textured negative spaces which bespeak the influences of Chinese and Japanese art.
The composition of Olives, Tangerines, and Flowers (2002), an intricate arrangement of vases filled with various types of flowers, is characteristic of Ripple's latest work.
In the similarly complex Arrangement with Plums and Flowers (2001), Ripple creates an intimate world of tumbled fruit framed by foliage and delicate flowers. The play of light and shadow over Ripple’s signature translucent paint gives the work an otherworldly feel.
Ripple, 37, received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His work is held in several public collections including the Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK; Exxon Corporation, Irving, TX; and Madison Art Center, Madison, WI.