In the work above Dipple has cut hundreds of periods and stops from daily newspapers and related publications. These cutout punctuation marks are accumulated over long periods of time. The process of cutting and accumulating the marks maps both her days and the events that have unfolded in the now destroyed newspapers. The content has been removed and all that is left is the structure that once organized that information. As readers we forget that our understanding is shaped by the grammatical rules embodied in these marks. Now, they have become the content and the focus of our attention.
In addition to punctuation Dipple is interested in the ways that periodicals lay out and present information. Chihuahua Puppy, above, is cut from numerous Friday advertisement sections – I bet one of them even advertised a chihuahua puppy for sale. Dipple has cut out all of the text layout boxes, re-gluing them to make a disorienting composition. She has moved from the rigid gridded box with its clarity of information to an environment where beginning, middle and end are tossed and scrambled.
For hundreds of years newspapers separated stories with horizontal and vertical lines, also known as column rules and cutoff rules. Over time these lines were replaced with what are called rule-less gutters, blank spaces left between blocks of text. At some point these went out of fashion and rules were back. Dipple plays with this fickleness in how to present and organize information in her series called Slant which removes the rule from its traditional horizontal and vertical axis, placing it on a diagonal, where it can serve no organizing function.
There are many things that fascinate me about Alex Dipple’s work but I’ve discussed her here because she serves as a wonderful example for beginning artists. Where do ideas come from and how can I get some? is the question asked by so many people starting to create work. Well, look around like Dipple has at those things that surround you everyday and that don’t initially seem worthy of any special attention.