Michael Simpson

David Risley Gallery

For some reason, English artists whose work has seemed scarce in recent years have begun showing again lately—John Stezaker and Marc Camille Chaimowicz are two who come to mind; Michael Simpson is another. Simpson’s last solo show in London was at the Serpentine Gallery in 1985, when he exhibited very large paintings, some depicting totemic figures, others seeming to show a hurricane of books hurtling through the void.

Since 1989 Simpson has been making a series of paintings, also quite large and now numbering sixty-six (although the artist has destroyed more than twenty), which bear the self-explanatory designation “Bench Paintings.” They are horizontally oriented canvases, typically more than seven feet high and more than sixteen feet long, depicting benches of various kinds, usually together with one or two other objects (a stool, a wreath, a window grate) whose relation to the benches,

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