viernes, 31 de agosto de 2007

Carla Rippey : Life and Times

The following essay is reprinted from the book "Artists in Mexico:Carla Rippey" published by Taller Gráfica Bordes (2007). More information about this series of books about contemporary Mexican artists can be obtained from Pilar Bordes,

Una de las casas en Kansas donde vivió la familia de mi madre /One of the houses my mother's family lived in, Kansas1950-1968

I was born on Sunday, May 21, in Kansas City, Kansas. Five years later, with the birth of my only brother, our family was completed and my mother, at 26, found herself in charge of four children aged six and younger. As a result she postponed dedicating herself to her other true vocation: literary matters (she later went on to receive her PhD in English Literature as a grandmother). My father was a newspaperman and a photojournalist. Due to his creative and volatile nature, we moved around a lot: twelve times in seven different Midwestern cities before I left home.

One of the photos my father took for Christmas cards/Una de las fotos tomadas por mi papá como tarjeta de Navidad
the photographer JC Rippey at lunch/el almuerzo del fótografo JC Rippey

At eighteen I set off for Paris (a Paris still recovering from May of 68) with the money I had saved while working as a telephone operator during high school. At nineteen, I entered college, a branch of the State University of New York which offered an experimental program allowing the students to design their own study plans. I managed to graduate 2½ years later and moved to Boston to live in a women’s commune. I made my first graphic works for the feminists: posters in very primitive silkscreen. I also worked in an alternative publishing house “The New England Free Press, and I was arrested in Washington for trying to stop the government (because it wouldn’t stop the war in Vietnam). I tried to make a living as a professional offset printer but failed miserably (partly because I was suffering from hyperthyroidism). I went home to Nebraska to be cured, and from there hitchhiked to NYC, took a bus to Miami, and flew to Santiago de Chile, where Ricardo Pascoe, whom I knew from the university, was studying for his Master’s degree. In what was probably a rather unfeminist act, I married him (excuse: “to get my visa”) and I became like him a militant in the Chilean left (once again making posters). When Allende fell, our fellow militants went clandestine and as foreigners, there was no way for us to remain. And that is when we came to Mexico, Ricardo’s native country. Within three years we had two children, Luciano and Andrés. Meanwhile, in my scarce free time, I began to work in a collective printmaking studio and to collaborate with the experimental art group (“Peyote and the Company”). Ricardo continued to work in politics. We were separated in 1978.

CR, 1978, photo by Adolfo Patiño/CR en 1978, foto de Adolfo Patiño
1980 to 1990

In my new role as single mother, and after a period of financial unsteadiness in Mexico City, I left for Jalapa, Veracruz, to work teaching printmaking in the Veracruz State University. From 1979 until 2000, our family included Adolfo Patiño, artist and photographer. Besides continuing with printmaking, I collaborated with Adolfo in “Peyote” and in his work (installation and object art). I began to make drawings (graphite on paper) based on photographic collage and to exhibit my work in Mexico City. My first important exhibit was in 1985 in the Carrillo Gil Museum, and that same year we returned to Mexico City. At last I was an independent artist. We were living in a very effervescent cultural period. These were the years of “neo-mexicanism”, of the extensive exhibit “Mexico, Thirty Centuries of Splendor” in the Metropolitan Museum of NYC; many new artist-run galleries emerged, as well as the alternative magazine “La Regla Rota” and of course these were the days (or nights) of the bar “9”, frequented by our whole generation (many Mexican rock groups got their start there).

Los jóvenes Pascoe dibujados por su madre, 1993/the Pascoe teenagers drawn by their mother, 1993
1990 to 2001

The decade encompasses a long period of hard work and several tribulations. I exhibited prints and drawings in one-person shows in the National Printing Museum, the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico City, and in the Museum of Monterrey. I participated in endless group shows. I did an exhibit of object-art (something I’d always wanted to do) in the “Museo Universitario del Chopo”. I showed drawings in the “Galería de Arte Mexicana”. My children grew up and became independent. And I became ill with hyperthyroidism; the worst is that it took me years to realize the cause of my deteriorating health. I ended the century in a clinical depression provoked partly by my thyroid condition.


I got well, thanks to the intervention of a good doctor and of Ramón Sanchez Lira. “Mongo”, my new partner, a former member of the “Peyote” group and editor of the “Regla Rota”, is a sculptor and makes stage sets for rock groups. I began to rethink many aspects of my work, and to produce ceramics, alternative graphics, and some installation.

Since 2001 I teach alternative graphics and last-year tutorials in “La Esmeralda”, the Mexican government’s university-level art school. My grandchildren (Amadeo and Nicolás) live next to my house and studio. So I’m surrounded by young people, a fact I hope to reflect in my way of approaching life and art.

Amadeo and Nicolás, my grandchildren/mis nietos, 2007

5 comentarios:

crescent dijo...

I love the sleeping boys with the Baroque-style bodies above :-)


bag of month dijo...

IT was great to find this blog and read about you. I often wondered what happended to my childhood friend. I go to Mexico each year and would love to recnnect.
Joan Garfield

Juegos de Ben 10 dijo...

To crescent , I love it too .

Juegos de Mario Bros dijo...

I often wondered what happended to my childhood friend.

mensajes claro dijo...

I love the sleeping boys ...