Brighton based Artist John Simpson has exhibited internationally with major shows in London, New York and Sao Paulo. He will be returning to Brazil in 2011 for his second show with Galleria Choque Cultural. In recent years he has shown alongside modern masters such as Hockney and Warhol. Commissions have included a contemporary take on Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland for inclusion in an exhibition with Sir John Tenniel's original wood engravings and Salvador Dali's Alice lithographs.
Simpson's primary medium is the Monotype, a process which is recognised as the most direct and painterly form of Printmaking. Using a combination of drawing and painting in oil based ink, layers of image are combined on the paper to create the finished work. These layers are created by working the tar like ink on a glass surface or by drawing on the reverse of the paper while placed on a smooth inked plate. “The Monotype print process extends the possibilities of traditional drawing, the marks are made by anything which applies pressure to the surface, even just hands for a very direct approach.”. Simpson's original Silkscreen prints begin life in the same way but the layers are pressed onto film rather than paper. The layers are kept separately in order to create the screens for the next stage of the editioning process.
Drawing has always been the most important element in Simpson's work, which relates to the graphic tradition of artists like Francisco Goya and Edvard Munch. His work references the world of folk tale and myth, exploring the relationship between the human figure and animal forms. Often introducing contemporary elements to these classical subjects, Simpson's imagery seems caught somewhere between childhood imagination and adult reasoning.
“I don't wish to Anthropomorphise these creatures but rather to reflect on man's position within nature.”
Simpson believes it is a mistake to project ideas of human behaviour onto the animals which appear in the work. The puzzling relationships between species we see in the ink are created to highlight man's imbalance within the environment. It is his ability to capture the physical and psychological nature of these creatures, which empowers the work. The resulting imagery can both disquiet and enchant in equal measure.