Los Angeles

David Simpson

David Stuart Galleries

Elegant, horizontally striped wall hangings in which Simpson deftly plays upon subtleties of color gradation, stripe-size and implied sequences of space to provide the viewer with facades of visual experience blind to any passageway into dimensions beyond the sensuous. “Speckled Bands” of 1961 includes amid the painter’s favorite blue-violet to red tonalities, matte and impasto black smudges and dabs. In 1962 Simpson used turpentine washes irregularly bleeding across otherwise halcyon surfaces of sienna, ochre and salmon stripes. The most recent works experiment with variations in canvas shapes. Crosses, circles and tablets now supplement the rectangle as surfaces to be banded. A triptych in free-hanging tablets, “April Panels” has the center panel thicker in width, while the red and blue stripes on all three elements fancifully create non-symmetrical stripe patterns which through their color interval s imply equilibrium. Simpson is less successful when he striates the circle. His bands curiously do not expand the circular form and on certain square panels with inscribed circles, the negative shape is dull in color and relates uninterestingly to the edges of the stymied stripes. “Sun Disk #1” is the only work in this genre where Simpson seems to use the conflict of circle-in-square effectively; with tiny ice blue stripes at the edges of ultramarine bands, he evokes airiness within the entire visual field. For those inclined towards the contemplation of purely optical esthetics, Simpson provides objects whose scope is analogous to the scholastic’s concern over angelic census reports.

Rosalind G. Wholden