Telluride Gallery of Fine Art: Liepke’s new oils for Art Walk

Telluride Gallery of Fine Art: Liepke’s new oils for Art Walk

[click “Play” to listen to Malcolm Liepke speaking about his art]

Will Thompson’s Telluride Gallery of Fine Art features a higgledy-piggledy mix of artists with one theme in common: They march to their own drum.

Malcolm Liepke was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the unabridged honesty that comes with Midwestern roots shows up in his work. Liepke is an unapologetic realist, who paints with a smoking brush. His images, these freshly minted portraits of women, have evolved into a patented cocktail of sensuality and draftsmanly stylishness: definitely PG-13, as much for what comes through the surface as what’s on the surface.

Horizontal or vertical, supine or prone, each of the ladies in Liepke’s harem somehow manages to engage us with a look that would melt steel. The words “luscious”  and “juicy” come to mind in describing the new body of work – pun intended – that make up Malcolm Liepke’s one-man show. The exhibition opens at the Telluride Gallery of Fine Art with an artist’s reception on Thursday, March 4, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m., in conjunction with the First Thursday Art Walk. The event, produced by the Telluride Council for the Arts & Humanities, is a “Best Of” Telluride’s fine art and retail scene. Participating venues stay open late until 8 p.m.

To depict loaded emotions, Liepke works with a loaded brush, making bold, lush calligraphic strokes that set off faces, figures and fabric, particularly in the new work, against a painterly backgrounds. Liepke remains at one cool remove from his subject, making no judgments, just observing and recording, yet he manages to bring so much excitement to his scrutiny of light and shade on the exposed flesh and features of his women – and that adorable baby – the creaminess of the paint seduces the viewer into believing not much else in the room is worth looking at. We become rapt, hopeless voyeurs in the thrall of the artist’s muses.

Liepke’s true gift, his real magic, however, is a talent for revealing something more, something evanescent: the inner life of his subjects. The artist’s primary goal is to capture emotions that vanish before they can be named or tamed. No wonder Liepke’s bravura paintings can be found in the permanent collections of the National Academy of Design, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Smithsonian, as well as in the private collections of celebrities from Barbra Streisand to Donna Karan.

To learn more about the artist in his own words, click the “play” button and listen to his podcast and watch Clint Viebrock’s movie.

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