Lorna Simpson – African American History Month 2020 #BlackHistoryMonth

Today we honor the celebrated artist/photographer Lorna Simpson. Currently represented by the esteemed gallery Hauser & Wirth, she’s been a force on the art scene for 35 years. Here’s an extensive bio of the artist from her own website.

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Lorna Simpson first became well-known in the mid-1980s for her large- scale photograph-and-text works that confront and challenge narrow, conventional views of gender, identity, culture, history and memory. With unidentified figures as a visual point of departure, Simpson uses the figure to examine the ways in which gender and culture shape the interactions, relationships and experiences of our lives in contemporary America. In the mid-1990s, she began creating large multi-panel photographs printed on felt that depict the sites of public – yet unseen – sexual encounters. Over time she turned to film and video works in which individuals engage in enigmatic conversations that seem to address the mysteries of both identity and desire. Throughout her body of work, Simpson questions memory and representation, whether in her moving juxtaposition of text and image, in her haunting video projection Cloudscape and its echo in the felt work Cloud, or in her large-scale video installation Momentum which recreates a childhood dance performance. Using the camera as a catalyst, Simpson constructs work comprising text and image, parts to wholes, which comment on the documentary nature of found or staged images. In Simpson’s latest works, characteristic ambivalence is presented with hazy ink washes to present isolated figures amidst nebulous spaces– a return to and departure from her earlier unidentified figures in a deepened exploration of contemporary culture.

We also recommend checking out this 2017 interview with the artist, published in The Paris Review.


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