The work of Gary Simmons (b. 1964, New York, NY) explores racial, social and cultural politics, interrogating the ways in which we attempt to reconstruct the past via personal and collective memory. Central to his practice is the act of erasure. In his ‘erasure drawings’, the artist uses his hands to blur white chalk on pigmented panels or in situ wall installations, leaving a spectral residue that evokes a sense of loss while simultaneously conveying the power of memory. By expunging only fragments of images or text, the artist demonstrates the impossibility of eradicating racial and cultural stereotypes from our shared conscience. Inaugurated in the early 1990s, the series has expanded to include works on paper, painted canvas and murals, all of which mimic the effect of smudged chalk.
Mining the iconography of American popular culture, Simmons’ work often takes its subject from cartoons, films, pedagogical settings or musical sources that identify with the legacy of racial hierarchies. His early sculpture powerfully invoked symbols of racial oppression, including the white hoods and nooses associated with the Ku Klux Klan. The politics of racial identity are a principal focus of the artist’s practice; his work is fundamentally occupied by the unfixed nature of a past that remains open to the vagaries of memory, and its role in the construction of the character of contemporary America. He notes, ‘I am concerned with figuring absence, with negotiating between the static vocabulary of race, gender and class stereotype and the invisibility of the dimension of human history in the objects I create’.
Gary Simmons: Dancing in Darkness
Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present Dancing in Darkness the first solo exhibition in Asia by American artist Gary Simmons. The exhibition will comprise of new paintings and works on paper that continue the artist’s ongoing exploration into the politics of race and identity, through his signature ‘erasure drawings’. In this new body of work, loaded icons and stereotypes of America’s pop cultural past – motifs frequently revisited by the artist throughout his decades-long practice - are repositioned to elicit compelling new associations in a post-Obama era.
Gary Simmons: Green Past Gold
Simon Lee Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of new work by Los Angeles-based artist, Gary Simmons. This is his fourth solo exhibition with the gallery.
The Tissue of Memory
Simon Lee Gallery New York is pleased to present The Tissue of Memory, a cross-generational group exhibition that considers the gesture and its history, as exemplified by the practices of Kelly Akashi, Robert Mangold, Agnes Martin, Win McCarthy, Monique Mouton, Josephine Pryde, Gary Simmons, Cy Twombly, and Heimo Zobernig.
Gary Simmons: Post No Bills
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present an exhibition of new paintings, wall work and sculptures by New York based artist Gary Simmons, in his third solo show at the gallery.
In his new body of work Simmons continues to excavate politics, music, race and class within American and British culture.
Simon Lee Gallery is proud to present ‘Faux Amis’, a group exhibition that centres on the dialogue between the work of gallery artists and their chosen ‘false friend’.
For this, the first exhibition to cover both the ground and the new first floor spaces of the London gallery, Simon Lee Gallery artists are invited to exhibit alongside, and in dialogue with, the work of an artist of their choice which they find forges a relevant, interesting, distracting, misleading, or stimulating relationship with their own practice. The resultant selection of works not only highlights the interesting discourses that can exist between artists of divergent practices and generations, but also suggests new readings of the individual works on display.
Gary Simmons discusses his artstic practice and the 'Erasure' series.