Artsy dives in to Lorna Simpson’s “Of Earth & Sky” and the beauty of her collages.
Simpson began her collage process by reappropriating and manipulating the imagery and messaging in those beauty ads. She centered Black women from those vintage magazines as her primary subjects. In earlier iterations of the “Of Earth & Sky” series (2016–present), she replaced the subjects’ hair with vibrant watercolors. Depending on the color, the subjects look as though they’ve been crowned by various elements—her choice of green is reminiscent of foliage, while orange is comparable to fire, and the blue calls to mind both ocean and sky. Simpson catapults the found images of Black women beyond terrestrial beauty standards. Through her lens they are exquisitely ethereal, the perfect protagonists for a Marvel comic.
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