"...well-known avant-garde sculptor, offers painted wooden constructions consisting of box-shapes locked together into post-lintel structures. Although the color is personal and far from Purist, his general orientation seems related to the final constructions of the late Burgoyne Diller."
Mr. Kipp's sculpture is intensely intimate in nature and concept, and in a curious way it calls to mind the domestic bronzes of the Baroque period. Like those works, Mr. Kipp's pieces are thought out in heroic terms.
- John Maxon, Four Young Americans III, 1956
"...has a special liking and special gift for abstract expression in metal. The sixty-one drawings and three-dimensional sketches which accompany his powerful pieces witness the many processes by which he refines his forms until they spell out in deceptive simplicity a carefully balanced relationship of line and space. Kipp, unlike many of his generation, is not fearful of symmetrical solutions. Into these he fuses a strong degree of visual stimulation but carefully controlled variations of spatial patterns. He has been given many honors in the last six years...As his splendid drawings show, here is an authentic young sculptor of notable temperament.
- Richard Hirsch, Freedom of Inspiration, 1958
Kipp has improved his sculpture considerably. The previous work looked like small pueblos and was inert. The bronzes in this exhibition, cast from plaster cast in corrugated cardboard, are definite in structure and movement. The parts are still box-like. Generally there is a columnar box from which a horizontal swastika structure develops. This involves an opposed articulation in which short horizontals abut at right angles and abut short verticals repeating the base. The parts appear cut from a monolith rather than composed, as they are. The division from a single base and the truncation form a solid, dressed and boxed human imagery. This is all well alone but is still not anything remarkable. Opposed structure is old and too used. Possibly some new combination such as making it monolithic, if that were new, might save it. But that doesn't happen. the main reason is the rationalism of the form, the philosophy which it incorporates, current when it was being developed. In Poussin or Puget the vigor and the complexity are understandable and credible while the philosophy, although understandable, is no longer credible. The rationalism is no more convincing in Kipp's sculpture; the rest can be compared to Puget.
-Donald Judd, 1962
Given the situation right now, it is heartening to discover a single-minded, unspoiled sculptor, one who has avoided the sculptographic, the mise-en-scene,and coprophagous absurdities as well. Sculpture has suffered every possible indignity throughout many periods of art, but certainly more than it has in recent years. Nor has mere activity ever been so highly rewarded with praise, while contemporary sophistries and an immense confusion of values have been sold to us daily as evidence of a marvelous renaissance. Particularly discouraging has been the drift of both painting and sculpture toward a Sargasso Sea of two and one-half dimensional objects which can only be described as composed in bastard-relief. Worst of all, the frantic search for effectiveness (more egoistic, I fear, than artistic), has continuously led back to the "idea", and when ideas take precedence over form there is a death of art.
There is nothing nihilistic about Kipp’s sculpture. Quite oppositely, his is the most positive acceptance of the simple truth of that art, which every important culture has had to regard seriously in order to set itself forth in a monumental fashion. Contemporary rationalizations aside, it is a contradiction of forms, as well as of terms, for a plastic art to attempt to express the decadent concretely in permanent materials. So it is perhaps well that flimsy, childish whimperings are self-annihilating and cannot leave a real mark. We are, as it were, condemned to stoicism. All of which is to say that Kipp's sculpture is entirely traditional, by which I mean, honest, factual, and affirmative.
In the first place it is three dimensional, a condition it accepts without question or embarrassment. Surface and mass are one since these pieces make no appeal for accolades from mystics or super-rationalists, and play no precious games with textures, patinas, or métiers. Easily felt formally, as is all mass-type sculpture, it is composed of simple complexes articulated with self-assurance and vitality.
Certainly Kipp takes full advantage of the contemporary faith in the qualitative aspects of empty space. But again without mystique, and the emphasis remains, classically, on the solids, whose planes and edges move from blunt to sharp and from flat to curve without hesitation or seeming design. These bronzes, like the undecorated plasters from which they come, are, indeed, the least conceited of any recent sculpture, and despite the complicated process involving direct creation in the mold, and thus an inversion from the negative to the positive vision, they seem to issue from instinct rather than calculation.
The cumulative result of Kipp's straight-forwardness and simplicity is a natural elegance. And on the basis of the present evidence, he appears capable of making one of the most positive sculptural statements since Brancusi.
- E. C. Goossen, 1962
Lyman Kipp was one of the sculptors chosen for the United States section of the recent Sao Paulo biennial. His cast bronzes are dark, their surfaces are mildly corrugated, his forms are almost all rectangles with slightly convex surfaces. Most of the pieces consist of a group of box-like forms set on top of a square post. The final impression is less of separate boxes then one large original; solid which has been cut away to its present size and shape. this work, like others in this show, tends more to act as mass than to define space.
- G.R.S., Art News, 1964
Lyman Kipp's sculptures, despite the presence of primary colors on rather thin, clean rectangular forms, remind one of ancient megaliths in their primitive organization. Several look like brightly colored, somewhat attenuated versions of Mycenaean arches, with simple lintels supported by unadorned piers - except that Kipp's pieces lack mass, let alone any sense of monumentality, and refer most cogently to painting. Hard Edge conceptions when extended to painted sculpture lose a great deal of transmission, especially of the sculpture does not project any sense of weight, as it certainly doesn't here. One of the central features of Hard Edge painting is its insistence on an effective distinction between interior and exterior space - the edge of the canvas contra the edge of the shape. However simple the elements may be, success requires a precise distribution of weight throughout a surface in order to prevent either extension beyond a pictures borders or incursion into the pictorial area. Lacking exact definition, a painting risks having its forms leave the surface and act as independent objects located in an indeterminate space. Kipp's work can be faulted chiefly on these grounds. His sculptures are simple objects that do not articulate the space they occupy, and his drawings look much like architectural renderings of isolated such as a doorway or window frame.
- Sidney Zimmerman, Arts Magazine, 1966
Lyman Kipp's sculpture is a study in wholeness and integrity.
The forms, the actual shapes that Kipp employs are ancient, and are reinforced by the additional stabilizing action of the primary colors working in combination or alone. The Parthenon, for example, is based on a simple post and lintel structure similar to that employed in Kipp's work in the late sixties. It comes as a surprise to many that the Parthenon was also painted in the primary colors - Red, Blue, Yellow. Kipp unites these indivisible colors with his primary shapes. The clear power of these colors, their stability, permanence and solidity is unique in the spectrum. The other colors depend on them for existence and sustenance.
Orange requires Red and Yellow.
In Kipp's sculptures, these whole and primary colors are integrated with basic forms and similar completeness and wholeness. They assume mass, weight, primary shape, and they take on the responsibilities of structure and support:
Green requires Yellow and Blue.
Violet requires Blue and Red.
Red supports Yellow
Color becomes structure: structure becomes color. Just as the primary colors honor one another in their deep purity, and just as the vertical pays the simple but profound respect of ninety degrees to the horizontal (and vice-versa) Kipp's colors define his forms, his forms support his colors. Some of his pieces rely on a single color which, working its way through the planes and contours of the piece, gives it a kind of homogenous support.
Yellow supports Blue
Blue supports Red
Red supports Blue
Blue supports Yellow
Yellow supports Red
Kipp's work in another example of the way in which contemporary sculpture may connect with humane values without attempting to depict these values literally or allegorically in figurative statuary. The formal integrity of Kipp's work corresponds to a number of positive attributes in human nature. For example, Kipp's forms are primary colors that Kipp bonds to his forms seem self-supportive and self-sufficient in the way you admire a reliable man for being self-reliant. Kipp's work, then, is a direct and concentrated expression of the values of clarity, coherence and honesty projected in pure sculptural equilibrium of color and form.
- Jim Fuhr, Lewiston Art Park, 1977
KIPP's work reflects a precise economy of form and color. Geometric planes intersect or balance one another in refined simplicity, as in One-O-Nine. Often the more straight forward the composition appears, the more complex it is to achieve. the overall effect is clean and demonstrative; nothing is random.
KIPP paints the work in primary colors - yellow, red, or blue. He underlines particular formal relationships between parts of the sculpture through the application of color. For instance, by painting the edges of Hugo, they become pronounced in one's vision. Attention is drawn away from the center of the piece to its edges. The planes of the sculpture reflect on the glossy paint surface, creating further illusions. While Kipp's adherence to basic forms and colors may at first seem a limitation, his possibilities are actually infinite.
- American Eight, 1980
The work of Lyman Kipp is a sculptural expression of clarity, coherence, and integrity. His sturdy shapes are reinforced by his selection of color. Kipp employs only the primary colors - red, blue, yellow - the colors on which the others depend for existence and sustenance (orange depends on red and yellow; green depends on yellow and blue; violet depends on blue and red). These indivisible primary colors add permanence and solidity to his shapes, so much so that the former assume mass and weight, and take on the responsibility of structure and support. In fact, this relationship is complementary; color becomes structure; structure becomes color. To Kipp, color and structure pay homage to each other in their purity and simplicity, and in their power.
- Jim Fuhr, ConStruct, 1980