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Joseph Lappie

Artist Statement:  Joseph Lappie

Everything seems to be about death, sex, relationships, faith and personal space. Most times I find that these fascinations are aesthetically interchangeable, or at least an amalgam of experience. Not in the sense of what they are, but in terms of the confusion and frustration experienced while trying to comprehend these assured actualities.

I like to know things and feel in control of my destiny, but these are things I can never really know and certainly can’t control. On an individualized level I experience them daily, through consumption or thought or love, but their largeness? It remains elusive. I’m conflicted as to if this is comforting or infuriating. My work seeks to come to terms with this inevitable unknowing. The figures I draw fail to master their circumstance or situation. Their folly is inevitable and universal. The creation of flawed characters might appeal to me in the same way that it might appeal to a god. This is not meant to be sacrilege, but instead similarity. Frankenstein meant well. So did Moreau.

I continue to struggle with my insecurities, with our insecurities. I wrestle with my inadequacies, with our inadequacies. Through the exploration of human limitations, I hope to one day find meaning I can hold on to.


Artist Bio: Joseph Lappie

Joseph Lappie’s work blends meaning and medium into a single artistic experience. His illustrations, carved figures and forms create a multidimensional work that he describes as being created with “the possibilities of allowing the viewer to decide how involved with the piece, and by extension the artist, they want to become.” As a printmaker, he creates hauntingly complex illustrations both as individual prints and carefully crafted books. Addressing issues of sexuality, doubt, love, fear, insecurity, predatory nature and determination he unpacks and examines our collective and individual insecurities through a process of self-examination that makes his work incredible personal and honest.

He currently serves as a Visiting Assistant Professor at St. Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He holds an MFA in Interdisciplinary Book & Paper Arts Columbia College Chicago and a BFA in Painting and Graphic Design from Ball State University. Joseph established the Baker Gallery in Davenport and curates a bimonthly print, artist’s books, works on paper and textual art exhibition.

His work was included in the 2011 Atlanta Print Biennial, and has been included in exhibitions in Chicago, Frankfurt, Seoul, London, Marseille, New York, Portland, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Richmond, Muncie, Tuscaloosa, and other cities. A wide range of collections hold his work including the University of Dallas, Yale Art Library, University of Wisconsin, Kansas City Art Institute Printmaking Archives, and numerous private collections.

Official Website
Interview with Joseph Lappie on Chicago Publishes


Joseph Lappie's Flickr

Joseph Lappie

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