The pieces, notably Three Figuresfeatured manipulated photographs overlaid with ink and acrylic. These works generally related to the perception of African-American women within American culture.
After receiving her BFA, she traveled to Europe and Africa, developing skills in documentary photography, her earliest works. By the mids, with her name firmly linked to photo-text, Simpson pushed in new directions to avoid what she characterized as a paralysis that could be created by outside expectations.
The complex historical and symbolic associations of African-American hairstyles are also brought into play. As an undergraduate at the New York School of Visual Arts, she studied painting at first but switched to photography before receiving a B.
In this work Simpson alludes to the racialization in ethnographic cinema and the revocation of history faced by many people of color. After graduation Simpson traveled to Europe and Africa, where she not only developed her skill at documentary photography but also began to wonder how she could expand beyond the limitations of the genrewhich she felt offered a primarily voyeuristic experience for the artist and the viewer.
One such work, Corridorjuxtaposed the stories of two African American women—an American Civil War -era runaway slave and a bored midth-century housewife—and drew parallels between their lives of isolation.
She was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship inand inshe became the first African-American woman to exhibit at the Venice Biennale.
It was these ideas that she worked on while earning her Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of California at San Diego in In many of her works, the subjects are black women with obscured faces, causing a denial of gaze and the interaction associated with visual exchange.
Drawing on this work, she started to create large photos printed on felt that showed public but unnoticed sexual encounters.
The message of the text and the formal treatment of the image reinforce a sense of vulnerability. Simpson debuted a different direction at the Venice Biennale, where she showed a series of multi-paneled paintings. The images themselves were now posed studio shots, characterized by the use of human subjects, usually African American women, whose faces were hidden or obscured.
In attempting to read the work the viewer is provoked into confronting histories of appropriation and consumption of the black female body. While earning an M. To the left of the images was a list of terms relating to a Lorna simpson exam; to the right, the words Secretarial and Position.
I think maybe there are elements to it and moments to it that I use from my own personal experience, but that, in and of itself, is not so important as what the work is trying to say about either the way we interpret experience or the way we interpret things about identity.
What emerged was what became her signature technique: The collages considered the representation of African American women by assembling photographs from vintage Jet and Ebony magazines to create absurd juxtapositions.
Her parents loved the arts and took her to numerous plays, museums, concerts, and dance performances. While traveling, she became inspired to expand her work beyond the field of photography in order to challenge and engage the viewer.
Underneath the corresponding portraits are the words: Amnesia, Error, Indifference, Omission, Uncivil. While not abandoning photography, she turned her attention toward video installations. Recently, Simpson has experimented with film as well as continuing to work with photography.
Through repetitive use of the same portrait combined with graphic text, her "anti-portraits" have a sense of scientific classification, addressing the cultural associations of black bodies.
In she became the first African American woman to exhibit at the Venice Biennalean international arts festival. She exhibited additional paintings at her galleries in subsequent years as well as sculptures and a series of collages titled Unanswerable “Black women’s heads of hair are galaxies unto themselves,” poet and professor Elizabeth Alexander writes in her introduction to Lorna Simpson Collages, a.
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Lorna Simpson is an American artist best known for her black-and-white photographs and works on paper—both of which explore the interplay between historical memory, culture, and identity.
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