Laurie Lipton’s work reminds me distinctly of two artists who terrified me as a child. There was my parents’ Brueghel book, in which Triumph of Death broke my brain at age 5, and my 3rd-grade discovery of Stephen Gammell’s ink drawings in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. (Gammell also illustrated a children’s book about the Holocaust called Terrible Things, which I’ve never read, but the very idea of Gammell illustrating such a thing frightens me already.) Lipton’s hyper-detailed images of lace-wrapped ghost brides, gloating war profiteers and haunted dollhouses are mixed in with images of “ordinary” scenes such as this old man (or woman?) dining alone. In context of the other works (or perhaps, even by themselves), these images hold just as much mystery.
As if Lipton’s work isn’t scary enough, selecting images of hers for this post from her MySpace page led to the most uncanny ad moment of my distinguished internet-surfing career. Even without the corresponding image, the rectangle ad below looks more like an anorexia PSA or a Caryn Drexl photo, but finding it next to Lipton’s depressing Mirror, Mirror drawing takes it to a whole new level of creepy. Click here for the larger version. After seeing it on that one page, I never saw that ad again. Can internet ads become “possessed” by the content that surrounds them? Someone in Japan, make that movie, please.