Charlotte Jackson Fine Art
David Simpson: Illumination
October 5—November 3, 2018
Incorporating Interference paints — transparent formulas containing reflective coated mica flakes — over his mono-pigmented works, David Simpson has managed to capture one of the most elusive elements of painting: light. One of the earliest post-painterly abstractionists, Simpson produces not minimal, but rather, as he puts it, “essential” painting. Pared to their most basic elements, there is a clarity and organic lightness to his work. These paintings are not dependent on shape, line, or composition; their sole concern is the convergence of color and light. Simpson’s ingenious use of Interference pigments brings his paintings to life with an opalescent sheen. They are not flat and monochromatic, but shift notably, depending on the angle from which they are viewed and the light source that illuminates them.
Yet, as the artist himself has acknowledged, this opalescence could easily come across as merely, or overly, beautiful or decorative. Simpson combats this in two ways. First, in exhibition (as shown here), the pairings of colored panels have a slight dissonance that subtly disrupts the pure, delicious pleasure of the seemingly luminous paintings themselves. Secondly, slight variations in texture can be detected in an individual piece, such as a natural patina of erosion.
The exhibition also included a number of small acrylic-on-canvas works that deviate schematically from Simpson’s Interference paintings. Stark black backgrounds highlight pastel-toned abstract forms. While very different from their counterparts in the exhibition, like fireworks against a dark sky, they continue to explore light while incorporating its contradictory element, darkness.