After two years of exploring the different meanings that could be found in his work, Assistant Professor Matthew Lipps combines art and photography to create HORIZON/S, which can be seen at the Secondhand exhibition at Pier 24, near San Francisco’s Embarcadero.
“I look at it for a long time, then I start cutting,” Lipps said, describing the method behind his art. The cutting process is all done by hand with an X-Acto knife. Lipps then traces the magazine cut outs on cardboard and finds a background for them. “It’s a slow process,” added Lipps.
Lipps’ work is an act of collage, using three dimensional space and taking something out of one context and putting it in another to create something different.
Lipps’, HORIZON/S was first shown in 2011 and features about 22 photos all from American arts and culture magazine, Horizon.
“It is a metaphotography show, a photo show about photography itself,” Lipps said. “It’s about personal archives and how we relate to them.”
Inspired by photographer Ansel Adams, Lipps said he had an immediate connection to photography at a young age.
“I always wanted to be really creative and artistic,” he said. Lipps began learning photography in high school after being encouraged by his mother, but it was when he attended the University of California, Irvine, that his passion grew.
Photography student Aurora Galvan, who took Lipps’ classes in the spring, said she already visited Pier 24 in August.
“As his student it is very inspiring and beautiful to see his work being displayed at Pier 24,” Galvan said. “He is very analytical about his students’ work because he wants us to grow as artists.”
Academia has always been a strong part of Lipps’ formation as an artist and a person. He started teaching at SF State in 2010.
“Teaching art is the most amazing thing in the world,” Lipps said. “I am really fortunate.”
Lipps teaches various photography classes and on occasion works in the graduate program teaching Graduate Critique and Advanced Photo Seminar.
Lipps’ favorite part about teaching is being a mentor to students and having conversations about something that he is passionate about.
“I identify with the students when they come in thinking photography is this one very finite thing,” Lipps said, adding that he never pushes his own work on anyone.
Jessica Thomas, a studio art major, has also taken a handful of classes with Lipps.
“I really enjoy the way that he pushes me to do better in my art practice,” Thomas said. “I have learned more about the art and photography world and even my own art practice because of his teaching style.”
Last semester Thomas saw one of Lipps’ shows at the Jessica Silverman Gallery, but has yet to visit Pier 24.
Teaching at SF State continues to be of the most importance to Lipps, who takes his class to Pier 24 every semester.
Pier 24 opens their collection to the public. Guests attend by making an online reservation at Pier 24’s website. Lipps’ HORIZON/S appears in the Secondhand exhibition, which runs through May 2015.