Friday, October 27, 2017

Politics (In the Weeds with Snakes and Saga 1)

I'm working on a series of paintings that are more explicitly political than what I've made before. In The Weeds With Snakes, from earlier this year, is very clearly about a personal reaction to the election. The content of this piece is impossible to see at a small size but you can click the link above to see details.

And this, below, is also an allegorical response to the current climate. It's also huge: it's an 8 foot watercolor and ink painting on paper. I love making giant watercolors, and I'm well into making the next one in this series. I'm going to make several of these large pieces. Each painting will continue the action the one before it, and the edges will match, so images flow from painting to painting. I've titled the first one of these paintings Saga 1, but I may well change that title as I get more of the series done. You can see more of Saga 1 on my website, here.

Samantha Simpson, Saga 1 (Working Title), Ink and watercolor on paper, 96" x 51", 2017

The large sequential pieces are based loosely on the saga of the Danian war that winds around Trajan's column in Rome.

I've been lucky enough to teach in Rome a couple times, and when I'm there I always visit the huge hole in the ground that surrounds Trajan's column. You can't easily get right up close to the images that wind around the column, but there is a long set of informational displays that show the images unwound in one long line. I'm always moved by those pictures. I know very little about the historical context of what I'm seeing, but it feels like a message from a lost society about the cost of a battle. It's a victory column with a message: we did this. Don't do it again. If you're interested, there's a great website that shows the images here. You can see details of my work on my website or on instagram, where I post in-progess shots of what I'm up to from time to time.