/artists/colin kippen

'Bracket,' roofing bracket, concrete, shredded personal documents, wire mesh, acrylic paint, 15 x 23 x 15 inches, 2016. Image courtesy Julia Saltzman.

Colin Kippen


Colin Kippen was born in San Francisco and grew up in rural Vermont. Kippen holds an MFA in Craft and a Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Metals from Oregon College of Art and Craft,  and a BA from Carleton College. The artist currently lives and works in Portland.



Each day as I walk around, I document the prosaic and poetic quality of my surroundings. I marvel at the textures of concrete patches, the mysterious language of the sidewalk “locate” painters, or the shadowplay of the light reflecting off of buildings. I absorb the texture, form and color as nouns, adjectives, and verbs of the visual poetry I translate for my artwork. Much the way a camera captures a scene, flattens it into two dimensions and divorces it from the entirety of its environment, I crop out a section of a three-dimensional environment and place it in a new context, now supported and colored in a way that inspires someone to see, as though for the first time, something common and overlooked. In a world filled with ever more complicated tools and machines, these are analog translations using humble tools, common materials and something from my treasury of found things. This one-to-one dialog with my materials makes me slow down, causes me to notice more, and allows for situations to arise outside of my initial expectations.

Zeugma, a figure of speech that links two words of disparate meanings, takes a physical form in my work, providing a linguistic corollary to the yoking of a concrete casting and a found object. I create an interface between the trace of an absent form and the real presence of the readymade. The linked objects create a friction: the concrete is present but displays a texture lifted from something now gone (be it OSB board, a 7-Eleven to-go tray or an industrial flex-hose) while the found object charges the union with its very real presence. The paint completes the translation, warming the cold grey surface of the concrete, infusing the texture with a glow—as though it were lit from the energy potential of two disparate entities. The resulting pieces are an enigmatic hybrid, pulled from a translated dialogue between photography, painting, and sculpture.

Reception: Saturday, July 9: Project Grow, 2156 North Williams, 12-3pm; c3:initiative, 7326 N. Chicago Ave, 2-6pm

Venue 1: Project Grow

Gallery Hours: Mon–Wed, 9am–4pm. Thur–Fri, 9am–5pm. Sat–Sun, 12–5pm.

2156 North Williams Ave | Portland

Venue 2: c3:initiative

Gallery Hours: Wed–Sat, 12–6pm

7326 N Chicago Ave | Portland

Website: http://www.colinpkippen.com/

Residence: Portland, OR

'Bracket,' roofing bracket, concrete, shredded personal documents, wire mesh, acrylic paint, 15 x 23 x 15 inches, 2016. Image courtesy Julia Saltzman.