DREW SIMPSON: Silly Damned Thing Anyhow
Sep 12 – Sep 29, 2013
Galerie D’Este is proud to present Drew Simpson’s long-awaited first solo exhibition in Montreal. Simpson’s show, entitled “Silly Damned Thing Anyhow”, expands on the artist’s enduring fascination for miniature painting with a curiosity cabinet of related objects, and some whose relationship to the rest is less obvious. The paintings read like a deconstruction of a classical Dutch still life. His minute brushwork celebrates the rich, touchable texture of beaten gold and plush fabrics, but counterpoints these with more sinister details. These objects refer to art history and the notion that conspicuous consumption is nothing new, but still others bring in a contemporary sensibility more in line with rock stars than royalty.
The incredible naturalism of Simpson’s painting style is achieved through techniques inspired by the miniature painters of the eighteenth century. This labour-intensive process results in highly detailed, richly textured surfaces. In this latest series, Simpson has abandoned his rich interiors and landscapes to focus attention on a single object at a time, further exploring the concept of luxury and decadence. In the past, well-traveled aristocrats would exhibit exotic or unusual ephemera in a specially-designed cabinet or room to astonish guests with their wealth, cultivation and worldliness. No care was given to organizing the collection, so finely-cut emeralds might be found between a lizard’s skull and a scroll of hieroglyphics. These objects might not all be intrinsically valuable or even particularly pleasant, but they were all hard to come by, and that made them luxurious. Similarly, Simpson is interested in texture and juxtaposition, and by treating the beautiful and more challenging objects with the same respect, he suggests that each one merits the viewer’s time and attention.
Drew Simpson was born in 1977 in Milton, Ontario and holds degrees from the Ontario College of Art and Design as well as the Toronto School of Art. While attending OCAD, Simpson was awarded the Lever Pond’s Award painting scholarship. In 2008, Simpson was an RBC Painting Competition Finalist. Simpson currently lives and works in Berlin.