Ripley Whiteside: Tropospheric : A special online exhibition curated by Erika Del Vecchio

3 - 17 September 2020

"As above so below. Tropospheric is a selection of twenty-five never before seen watercolors and ink on paper drawings by Ripley Whiteside from 2015 to 2020. Curated like a puzzle, the works are organized in a montage so that they can be taken individually or together as a whole experience, making them easier to read for the viewer who will only see them online. Ripley has an acute sensitivity to nature and its details which makes his body of work a tribute. I curated this exhibition remotely, being in the Magdalen Islands in Quebec while Ripley was in Nashville, Tennessee. Unaffected by the physical distance separating us, I experienced his oeuvres like a mirror on my reality as the resemblance between these watercolors and my surroundings was grand. At night, I could see all of the stages of his Starscapes and at dawn Plume and Dunes were unravelling before my eyes - ever so lucky! This mimesis speaks of the authenticity of Ripley's understanding of our universe and his painterly expertise to channel every subtle detail with poetry. It revived a sentiment of wonder that I was longing for living in a brightly lit city. My approach to curate these pieces was then very romantic and, as our discussions on his motive and artistic statement evolved, it became clear that this exhibition would also resonate with the attachment we have to what surrounds us and how it speaks of ourselves. Thus, I hope that you will feel the vibrations that come from being at one with nature, however far away it may be." -Erika Del Vecchio

"All around the world, clear skies were widely observed as stay-at-home orders were issued at the beginning of the pandemic. Visibility dramatically increased as shrouds of smog lifted, mountain ranges appeared and city dwellers expressed awe at crisp skylines. In her essay "Excavating the Sky," Rebecca Solnit writes about the disappearing sky: "Ecologically speaking, the ozone layer is thinning, and we are losing our atmospheric protection from the cosmos; but aesthetically speaking, thicker and thicker layers of humanely produced stuff intervene between us and that cosmos." The twenty-five paintings here concern our relationship to the troposphere, the bottommost layer of the atmosphere that extends from the surface of the earth upwards a few miles. It is where weather happens and where we breathe. I feel that to know the troposphere better is helpful in understanding the sky as a place key to our survival." - Ripley Whiteside