"Stories We Tell Ourselves"
During Lippillo's childhood he lived in fifteen different houses in the Midwest - a part of the country that feels as placeless as the rental houses his family occupied. As a result, he has always felt like an outsider abserving and wondering about the area he was inhabiting. Each time they moved he bacame fascinated and haunted by the residual essence of the former inhabitants that still lingered in and around the home. Throughout the series, "Stories We Tell Ourselves", memory, landscape, and vernacular images, coalesce in a series of constructed photographs. Drawing influence from his experiences, American Scene painting, literature, and cinema; Lippillo seeks out non-specific American landscapes to become settings that simultaneously feel familiar and unfamiliar. In doing so, he embellishes the images by adding atmospheric conditions and appropriated figures that are alien to the melancholic landscapes.
He begun the process for this series by photographing unoccupied suburban and rural areas to serve as backdrops of the everyday. He then searches through his collection of anonymous vernacular images - photographs with unknown internal and external contexts - that have been purchased in secondhand shops to find figures to inhabit the minimalistic scenes. In doing so, a pensive human presence appears as an ruckenfiur contemplating the landscape for the viewer to identify with, or as a visual device to direct the viewer's gaze around the frame. He approaches finding the locations to photograph, and chooses the figures to appropriate, with an eye for ambiguity and an irrational attraction and fascination to unassuming details, thus allowing his mind to wander outside of the confines of his eye's visual field.
In these re-contextualized photographic realities, the landscapes and figures share a symbiotic relationship, which allows them to transcend time, space, and experience due to their juxtaposition. By creating composite photographs, he is inviting the viewer to impose new meanings and create their own re-telling's of the stories intertwining the anonymous figures and unspecified locations.
During his childhood Dominic Lippillo's family rented a considerable number of houses. Every time they moved to a new house he would wonder about the uncountable past experiences that may be embedded within the walls, how the former inhabitants used the space, and how their time in this space affected their lives. As a result, he became fascinated by the residual essence of the former inhabitants that still lingered and the remnants they unintentionally left behind that seemed discarded, forgotten, or unwanted.
Throughout his projects Lippillo often photographs in or around his personal surroundings in an attempt to understand the spaces and the people who once lived there. In doing so, he created photographs of experiences that exist in his mind but not in reality. He aims to create and capture fictitious moments, while subsequently calling into question the legitimacy of photographic representation by employing a practice, which utilizes staged photography, found vernacular photographs, and digital composite imagery in which he embellishes the depicted information through a process of addition and deletion.
Selections of his collaborative work are included in the permanent collections of The Museum of Photographic Art; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa; and The University of North Dakota. Features in publications include "Some Recent Findings", "Don't Take Pictures", "Momo Chroma", "Exposure", "Daily Serving", "The Eye of Photography", and the "INPHA Annuals II and IV". Grants and Awards include: South Arts Fellowship (2018), Finalist Critical Mass Top 200 (2017 & 2016), Mississippi Arts Commission Visual Artist Fellowship (2016), several Mississippi Arts Commission Artist Mini-Grants (2010, 2013, 2014, and 2018), and the Mississippi State University Faculty Research Award for the College of Architecture, Art and Design (2013). Lippillo earned his MFA in Photography from Ohio University (2009) and a BFA in Photography from Youngstown State University (2005), and is an Associate Professor of Photography at Mississippi State University.