AOS Artist Directory | 

J. Alice Sipple

J. Alice Sipple

Drawing, painting, mixed media

Location @ AOS:

Arlington Center for the Arts (20 Academy St)

The earth-centered themes of my work are grounded in awe of the earth’s power and concern for its fragility. I spent my childhood in Portland, Oregon, climbing, camping and skiing in the Cascade Mountains. As a young adult, I found myself teaching art in an international school in Quito, Ecuador, in the Andes mountains. In both locations, I experienced first-hand the tremendous impact of volcanic eruptions: St. Helens in 1982, Pichincha in 1998 and Tungurahua in 1999. In the years that followed, as climate change came to the forefront of our global consciousness, egg iconography surfaced in my work -- expressing concern for the planet’s fragility and admiration for its ability to recover and regenerate.
In recent years, my work has addressed the essential nature of freshwater. The work has grown alongside a concern for the accessibility of freshwater across the globe, and began with a focus on freshwater plants such as the water lily of northeastern US, papyrus of Egypt, and the lotus flower of India. My art took this direction while living in New Cairo, Egypt, where freshwater is scarce. My medium of choice is also water-oriented – combining sumi-e ink, watercolor, and cyanotype printmaking (an early photographic process that uses sunlight to expose the print and water to develop it). The cyanotypes shown here are made by placing plants found on a lake shore on top of pre-treated paper, and exposing the paper to sunlight. Gazing at the prints as they develop in a bath of water, or following the charcoal-based sumi-e ink as it travels across a wet surface, is a meditative experience which I hope is reflected in the work. This process has helped me to rediscover the many ways in which the lives of human beings are woven into the natural world.

I am currently exploring the ways in which plant life and the human body are closely intertwined and how both rely on sunlight and fresh water to stay alive -- tracking the branch-like system of arteries that move in and around the heart and lungs, and finding similarities between the bulbs in Knotted Wrack seaweed and the nodes of the lymphatic system. Mixed media seems to lend itself well to portraying this interconnectivity. A wide variety of textures and materials living symbiotically on one piece of paper.