May 4, 2022

Rye Tippett Exhibit at Morpeth Contemporary

“SOLSTICE”: This oil painting by Rye Tippett is featured in “Whistling in the Moonlight,” on view at Morpeth Contemporary in Hopewell through the end of May. An artist’s reception is on Saturday, May 7 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Morpeth Contemporary now presents Rye Tippett “Whistling in the Moonlight,” his third solo show at the gallery, which will be on exhibit until the end of May. The artist’s reception is this Saturday, May 7, 5 to 8 p.m. and open to the public.

Be it over land or water, Tippett’s vast skies stir the imagination. Drawing on his own experience walking in the fields late at night, he asks: “That’s the moon behind the trees, or is it?” Hovering in his paintings’ skies are adventure-seeking dogs, ghost-like sperm whales, and other animals mixed with relics of the past — from historical warships to vintage cars. Tippett finds inspiration in literature and history, machines, and inventions, pairing the wonder of the natural world with his favorite manmade creations.

A Ballad of Charlie and Rosie, The African Queen pairs opposites-that-attract in the vessel made famous by C.M. Forester; and Victory at Rest depicts Vice-Admiral Nelson’s ship from the Battle of Trafalgar. Somewhere in that Quiet Morning and Solstice both feature sperm whales drifting in the night sky, inspired by one of the most famous literary characters in American history, Moby Dick. Rather than a specific interpretation of Moby Dick — as a symbol of good or evil, nature or divinity — Tippett includes the whale as an all-encompassing watchful spirit. In these Romanticist-inspired paintings, the smallest figures on the ground — be it a person or an animal — find whales and other larger-than-life elements in their encounter with the sublime.

Ultimately, Tippett’s works ask about the passing of time, and the myriad elements that hover between heaven and earth. Is it a ghost? A glorious machine now retired? A dream or memory that lives on? And how is it that when we look up at the night sky they sometimes replace the moon?

Tippett, a Bucks County, Pa., native, is represented in numerous private collections and has exhibited widely. Bluebird from a previous show at Morpeth was accepted in the National American Artists League 88th Grand National Exhibition (2016) and Hung out to Dry won the Phillips’ Mill Community Association Award at the 2017 Philips Mill art exhibition.

Morpeth Contemporary is located at 43 West Broad Street in Hopewell. For more information, call (609) 333-9393 or visit