Kinds of Blue: Lorna Simpson

Exhibition Review

  • "Lorna Simpson. Darkening"

  • Hauser & Wirth, New York
  • 25 Apr 2019 - 26 Jul 2019

Lorna Simpson, Blue Turned Temporal (2019), ink and screen print on gessoed fiberglass, 102 x 144 x 1 3/8 inches. ©Lorna Simpson. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth.

From across the gallery, Lorna Simpson’s screenprint-painting Blue Turned Temporal (2019) looked like a deserted Arctic landscape, with a large snowcapped mountain rising against a foreboding sky of lush, dark blue. The fluid, cobalt blue paint is at odds with the photo-mechanically reproduced mountains, and also with the thin slices of magazine pages that streak down the canvas, interrupting the landscape. Though they appear to be collaged, these strips are also screenprinted, digital enlarged from the originals. We can make out narrow slivers of female faces—eyes smiling in an otherwise figureless scene—and also occasional words or symbols. Legible fragments call out to us: “$4,” “WIG.” The text, once seen, must be read: “Stop / Stop / Stop / Stop” appears in a stack in several paintings. Other bits read “And / fight / white.” Incomplete words leave us guessing their meaning—“facial” perhaps? “Lack” or “black”?

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