Canberra exhibitions. Precipice. Works by Sally Simpson at ANCA Gallery. 07 – 18 August 2013. Opening Wednesday 07 August 6 – 8pm. Great event, if you have the chance don’t miss it, Yareah Magazine friends.
My work comes out of my way of life. I attempt to continue the timeless tradition of humans making artefacts from materials at hand in order to make sense of the natural world. Land changes constantly, but so do our values about it, and constant change is what interests me. So I use unexpected methods to transform materials to make work about transformation. Sally Simpson, 2013
Drawing on the legacy of traditions in which the figure is an object of power through which one hopes to exercise change or influence, Simpson’s sculptures invite us to contemplate the complexities, contradictions and mutability of our relationships to the land we inhabit.
Kim Mahood for Art Monthly Australia: Essay on Sally Simpson, August Issue, 2013.
ABOUT THE WORK Sally Simpson uses the human figure as her central motif to explore the relationship of humans to the land. This new work consists of sets of kneeling figures – some grouped (as in the title work Precipice above), others alone – created from collected objects and organic material sourced from around the property where the artist lives – Wamboin, just outside Canberra in the ACT.
This new series builds on Simpson’s powerful exhibition from 2012 titled ‘Artefacts & Specimens’, exhibited at ANU School of Art, Canberra. The intention of these works in referencing humans and the natural environment is to show the uneasy relationship humans have with nature.
Although the scale of the sculptural figures vary from doll-size to child-size, the proportions are very much adult. Some heads are made from small animal skulls (fox & kangaroo skulls found on the artist’s property) or bones, and human hair (as well as cow and horse hair) is also used – adding an element of slight discomfort about these small figures.
They kneel, some with palms upturned – are they passive creatures? Are they challenging? Are they wounded? Are they submissive? Are they beseeching?
A significant trademark quality of Simpson is her use of braiding and stitching in her work – wire, string, hair and plastic twine being common materials. Simpson says this is a craft she learned from her grandmother – an accomplished dressmaker – and one she naturally uses in her own work. The show will include the large work Precipice (a group of 9 kneeling figures, above) and 10 more kneeling figures individually displayed. All approximately 70cms tall.
ABOUT THE ARTIST Sally Simpson
Sally Simpson began her studies at the South Australian School of Art in 1982 and completed her BA at the College of Fine Arts Sydney in 1987.
Simpson completed a Master of Philosophy in Practice-Led Research in Sculpture at ANU School of Art in 2012.
In addition to solo exhibitions Simpson has exhibited in various group shows including the Deakin University Contemporary Small Sculpture Award in 2012 & 2009. In 2006 she was the recipient of the Meroogal Women’s Art Award and in 2007 was awarded the ANU Student Drawing Prize.
Her work is informed by her life on a small farm and responds to environmental concerns, while focusing on human culture and our changing values regarding nature.
Previous bodies of work include ‘Venerated Remains’; ‘Berry’; & ‘Lake Makoan’. See artist website.
ANCA GALLERY (Australian National Capital Artists) 1 Rosevear Place, Dixon, Canberra www.anca.net.au