°1928, Pasadena, California
The California native painter David Simpson (°1928) plays an important role in Western art history. Since the 1950’s Simpson actively explores and challenges painterly abstraction. His work is included in many important museum- (MOMA, New York) and private collections (Panza Collection, Turin) throughout the world and was exhibited in both iconic exhibitions Post Painterly Abstraction, 1964 curated by Clement Greenberg and Americans, 1963 by Dorothy Miller.
Since the end of the 1980’s, Simpson moved away from the vibrant hard-edged abstract work that characterized his earlier career and evolved towards mostly monochromatic paintings with an almost alchemical realm. Using interference paint, composed of mica minerals that have been coated with a layer of titanium dioxide, Simpson strives to reach a maximum effect with minimal colour necessary. However, Simpson does not consider himself a minimalist or monochrome painter but a “mono pigment painter” or better: an essentialist.
The little particles within the paint capture light and able the viewer to see multiple colours instead of a simple monochrome. After decades of experimentation, Simpson found ways to modulate the effects of interference paints – the palette only comes in six colours – by mixing them with conventional colours and applying them over layers of acrylic paint.
Light is the main subject and signature interest whereby Simpson finds inspiration in Western art history (Cfr. Turner, Impressionism, Medieval Manuscripts). He does not attempt to represent light but makes light the active medium of his work. The viewer is forced to move away from a fixed gaze or static view. Only when moving back and fort in front of the painting one can perceive the full range of beautiful indefinite and undetermined colours, reliant of the time of day, source of light and position.