The hauntingly beautiful paintings and lithographs of Sharon CT artist, Robert Kipniss, command widespread respect among art lovers everywhere. His monochromatic vistas have been featured in thirty-seven museums in the US alone and he has recently added to this august body of work a new book - his fourth - titled "Robert Kipniss, a Working Artists Life.
Noted art historian Richard Boyle, who lives in nearby Salisbury CT, has written this about the newest book. "From a combination of notes, his earlier writing, the memory trigger of the works of art themselves, but most of all from his prodigious memory, Robert Kipniss has fashioned a memoir of clarity, sensitivity and insight. Anyone seriously interested in art and the lives of artists, but especially in the mysterious and always fascinating connection between an artist's life and his work, would find this book both enlightening and enjoyable."
We at BerkshireStyle.com had the good fortune to meet Kipniss recently. He generously shared his thoughts about his life in the Berkshires.
What originally drew you to this area?
In 1994 I married a woman who lives in Sharon. I still maintain a studio in Westchester but I do all my copper plates (for print making) here.
When you have guests, whats the ultimate entertainment venue you like to share with them?
A concert by the Berkshire Bach Society. They are magical.
Tell us about your studio or your work environment.
My plate-working studio in Sharon is very different from my painting studio in Westchester. In Sharon I have two second-story rooms for my work area, one smaller one for my computer at which I have written several books, including a recently published memoir, and a larger room with two worktables and a view of my wife's lovely garden. In order to 'read' the mezzotint plate accurately as I work on it I need a concentrated light to fall across it from a certain angle. To control the angle of reflection at a certain point in the process I must pull down the shades to avoid a conflict of light sources.
Whats your favorite Berkshire ritual?
Every New Year's Eve for the last twelve years we have attended the Berkshire Bach concert in Great Barrington. For more than ten years we have done this with a group of close friends after which we all have dinner at one of our homes. It is a wonderful event.
Where do you go when you crave solitude?
My studio, every day. My wife is a writer so she understands the need for solitude while working, but we have lunch together every day.
Wheres your favorite place for breakfast? Home.
Whats your favorite way to spend a Sunday morning?
Sunday mornings we sleep in, not rising until 8 a.m. Then we breakfast, look at the Sunday papers and chat. On Sundays I don't get to my studio until 10 a.m. or so. Very leisurely.
What newspapers, blogs, or websites do you read every day?
The Daily News because it fits on the treadmill and then the NY Times at breakfast: the Lakeville Journal on Thursdays when I arrive from Westchester.
Whats your favorite art gallery or event in or around the Berkshires?
That's easy, the Morrison Gallery in Kent. They have a good eye and the shows are always of good professional artists, and besides, I exhibit there too.
The Berkshires area boasts many who are passionate about the arts, who are your favorite local artists?
I can't comment on that because I know so many of them and, if I left some out, it would cause problems.
With whom did you study or train?
I am self-taught. That also means I haven't learned someone else's bad habits.
How do you feel that living in the Berkshires informs your work?
I see the surrounding landscape every day and sometimes I go out and sketch. This is a singularly beautiful part of the world.
What other artists do you admire and/or collect. What is it about them that you find appealing?
I used to avidly collect but that is long over. I kept a few favorites: a Jasper Johns lithograph, a Motherwell lithograph, a Nevelson etching, some Zimiles and a Marjory Reid, some small Henry Moores, Zuniga and Jacques Lipschitz bronzes. Some of this work hangs in Sharon, some in Westchester.
When not here, where in the world do you most enjoy spending your time?
Why, my Westchester studio of course.