African-American artist and photographer Lorna Simpson will mark her third solo exhibition at Salon 94 Bowery, showcasing her first exhibition of paintings following their premiere in the 55th Venice Biennale, Okwui Enwezor’s All the World’s Futures. Often using the camera as a catalyst, Simpson comprises text and image based works that comment on the documentary nature of found or staged images, asking questions of memory and representation. After years of practising at intense collage, watercolour and ink, Simpson’s paintings will combine printed photographs with ink and panelled acrylic on multi-panelled clay board. Her renowned interest in deconstructed identity is still present yet reduced into symbolic notations and cues.
Enumerated (2016) featured in her upcoming exhibition, rises 12 feet high, consisting of hundreds of images of nails clustered in groups of five. Setting quite a hushed and poetic tone to the exhibition, Enumerated resemble the tally marks scratched onto prison walls as a record of days in captivity.
Simpson leaves us to address the fragments in today’s political and social climate, through a series of paintings, lining a gallery wall. Almost as if the pages of Ebony magazine have been washed of all advertisement and editorial content, these features are skewed into a single motif or phrase for our reflection, grouped together by a gradient background with subtle tones of blacks, greys and white.
A series of photographic collages from vintage Associated Press photographs from the late 1930s through the 1970s have been a point of influence for Simpson’s painting style, as well as Ebony and Jet pages from the same time period. The strength of Simpson’s collages is the initial isolation which then binds two cut out elements, an imaginative and powerful technique.
Lorna Simpson: Salon 94 Bowery, 8 September – 22 October ,243 Bowery, New York NY 10002
1. Lorna Simpson, Chess, 2013, HD video installation with three projections.