Dwight Ripley was a British born artist, whose work was the subject of five solo exhibitions at Tibor de Nagy starting in 1951. A polymath, Ripley was a serious botanist, the author of a volume of poetry, and spoke fifteen languages. However, it was for his artwork that he was most recognized. Six of his drawings were included in an exhibition at Peggy Guggenheim’s legendary gallery Art of This Century.
Ripley's "Travel Posters" and "Language Panels"-- two series of drawings made in 1962 and 1968, the last decade of his life -- combine inventive graphic clarity with allusive puns based on popular art forms. In his "Travel Posters," the enticing scenery has been configured from the scientific names of indigenous plants, but spun in a cursive web that suggests the wandering line of Surrealist or abstract art. In the "Language Panels," his etymologically-driven idea of the comic strip, the drawings have been divided into mysterious quadrants that imply narratives of both discovery and danger. Colorful, unusual, and pioneering in their steadfast insistence on colored pencil, the drawings are prescient of the epistemological savvy and environmental awareness that came to characterize the era we still recognize as our own.