Thursday, April 8, 2010

Diptychs by Lara Shipley

photographic questions installed in Mildred’s Coffeehouse in the Crossroads until April 30th.

dip•tych Pronunciation: “dip-tik”, Function: noun, Etymology: Late Latin diptycha, plural, from Greek, from neuter plural of diptychos folded in two, from di- + ptychē fold, 1 : a 2-leaved hinged tablet folding together to protect writing on its waxed surfaces 2 : a picture or series of pictures (as an altarpiece) painted or carved on two hinged tablets 3 : a work made up of two matching parts.

Lara Shipley’s latest project connects pairs of photographs, matted with ample white space, presentations that seem to give the viewer ample intellectual elbow room to fill with imagination. In one sense, one picture functions as the noun, while the second serves as the verb.

Your eyes may move right to left, left to right. Each pair is untitled. That’s your choice. You may not discern any context of time, mental date-time stamping such as a certain model automobile. People juxtaposed with places and things. Juxtaposed at first, connected by your eyes, imagination and experience, maybe.

The diptych method in medieval religious art was meant to be a portable piece and in fact the Greek versions were a sort of forerunner to the laptop; portable decorated writing containers, hinged. No hinges for Lara. She allows you the freedom to connect.

That subtle observational, unobtrusive, time-defying, connecting and contrasting presentation may pull you close and it may take a while for you to snap out of it. But you’ll be seeing this in a coffee shop where one is allowed to sketch, daydream, and talk.

Lara Shipley is a freelance photographer living in Westport, departing in the Fall to pursue her MFA at Arizona State University. Visit her art at

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