Laurie Lipton admits that “I was the best drawer in kindergarten.” And though her new book is modestly called Drawing, it summons a bit more than getting a gold star sticker from the teacher. In typical droll humor, the monograph is divided into three series, Post Truth, Techno Rococo, and May You Live in Interesting Times, understatements about a mass-media world saturated with information, unprecedented communication, and stagnating anxiety. Lipton, a fan of Diane Arbus, states the facts, wrinkles and all, in black and white, sketched in pencil and charcoal in her painstaking, signature cross-hatch method.

For all the possibilities the digital world offers, from medical breakthroughs to the endless connectivity cords that truly are the ties that bind, Lipton presents us not as predators or buffoons, but as overwhelmed men and women of all ages seeking attachment in a world tangled in cables and overloaded power circuits. Among the highlights is Personal Effects, an interpretation of Katsushika Hokusai’s Great Wave of Kanagawa in which discarded bottles and plastic form the giant oceanic swell threateningly rising above an oblivious young woman staring into a phone. “Pay attention,” Lipton seems to warn, admonishing that our creations are mighty, but so are our souls. “The bizarre thing about Laurie Lipton’s art,” says Mike McGee, “is that it is so extremely surreal, yet it seems more real than much of our reality today.” Savor the graphic, unsparing, intelligent works, each pulsing with heart. —Gwynned Vitello

Last Gasp,