Lorna Simpson Shifts Gears

Lorna Simpson. Photo by James Wang.
Lorna Simpson. Photo by James Wang.

This month, Lorna Simpson opens her self-titled solo show at Salon 94. Here, the artist opens up about the show in her own words.

“I’ve been thinking about moving in this direction for the last couple of years. But I know so many amazing painters and I was a little hesitant! I kind of said to myself, Just try it and see what happens. It’s a venture in using photographic imagery and working in ink because I’ve been doing these collages and working with ink for five years. It’s an evolution of a branch of my collage work that I decided to up in scale and play with the content a little differently.

What’s interesting about it as an activity—to go through all of these magazines from the Civil Rights era through the ’70s—is it reveals a very parallel world to the one we are living in now politically. We are still living some of that legacy now. The collages are a way to work intuitively and then that process becomes a jumping-off point to think about the paintings, and how they function.

I did one six months ago called Then and Now, which has a 1967 image with the tension of the police coming into a city and shutting it down. You can see that there were black protestors, which is reminiscent of Ferguson. Although that image is from a completely different era, it echoes two summers ago, and became the context for that particular painting.”