Revising my Artist’s Statement

David Tripp at The Gallery at Redlands
Photo by Zdenek Jary

The Gallery at Redlands in Palestine, Texas, nestled on the ground floor of the historic Redlands Hotel at 400 N. Queen Street, opened in March 2017 with a one-man-show of David Tripp’s watercolors. Once the show ended, David was invited to remain as artist-in-residence.

Retiring after three decades in a classroom, David currently divides his creative time between The Gallery at Redlands and his own Studio Eidolons in Arlington, Texas.  His watercolors feature small-town American sights fading from our landscape, but not our memories. Émile Zola, in his celebrated novel The Masterpiece, recorded these sentiments: “The past was just the graveyard of youthful illusions, so why return to it if you’re going to find nothing but tombstones?” David’s response: “When entering the ruins of our past we experience the dual emotions of loss and presence. Like a truncated monument, we recognize something missing that used to be vital. But if we linger long enough, we sense an overpowering presence and feel refreshed, having stepped into that space.”

David, a native Missourian, grew up in St. Louis and studied art in rural northeast Missouri while earning his Bachelor’s Degree from Truman State University.  Residing in Texas since 1977, he draws his watercolor subjects from a host of “recollections” involving cities, small towns and rural stretches throughout the Midwest and Southwest, particularly old Route 66. 

David finds inspiration for his art from the life and works of Andrew Wyeth and Edward Hopper. Having earned his Masters and Ph.D., he seeks ways to blend academic studies with art creations, and particularly loves the writings of artists Robert Motherwell and Robert Henri, along with literary giants including Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau and Marcel Proust. The poetry of William Carlos Williams, Robert Frost and Walt Whitman also drive his imagination. These artistic and literary geniuses he regards as kindred spirits. They were frequently surprised by the revelatory powers of objects connecting them with primal memories from the past.  These objects, viewed on location, as well as in works of art, have a way of “drawing the viewer in.”  And we are usually grateful for that primal experience.

Currently, David is working on a series of watercolors and short stories commemorating art in small town U.S.A. His series is titled “Turvey’s Corner 63050”. The fictional town features a zip code placing it between two Missouri towns four miles apart along U.S. Highway 30: High Ridge, 63049, where David grew up and attended elementary and junior high school, and House Springs 63051 where he attended high school and church. Drawing inspiration from American writers that include Garrison Keillor, Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, Edgar Lee Masters and William Faulkner along with playwright Thornton Wilder, David has developed a cast of characters and is spinning stories around them and the subjects he is painting for this series.

Studio Eidolons

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