By Madeleine Peck Wagner
Watching Jeff Whipple draw is like observing an origami crane unfold across a page: sure and inevitable, each form seems to follow the previous. It is watching the subtlest of magic.
While reading Drawn into Something, the first of three planned memoirs, his lifelong dedication to this specific thaumaturgy is palpable.
A visit to MetaCusp studios—the warehouse space he shares with artist Liz Gibson—underscores this life spent in art. A life dedicated to peering metaphorically around and under, to seeking the profound, finding the absurd, and constructing a nonlinear, shape-shifting, and adaptive narrative. His painting and sculpture often tread the line between theater and installation: A newer suite of stand-alone sculptures are based on stelae. Like many of his pieces from the past 40 years, the stelae are adorned with the artist’s own symbol for/of life: the triple equal sign.
Whipple sat down with Arbus Magazine on the eve of Hurricane Ian, and we enjoyed a rambling conversation that touched on everything from the rewards (and frustrations) of teaching, to the auspiciousness and obligations of getting baptized in the ocean at the edge of a storm.