Diane Simpson Tunic (folded) 2012 Gatorfoam board, spunbond polyester, and crayon 34 x 72 x 36 inches
Diane Simpson Vest (scalloped) 2010 copper, linoleum, steel base, wood, and enamel 56 x 22 x 14 inches
Diane Simpson Collar / Bib (sections) 2012 Light density fiberboard (LDF), enamel, linen canvas, crayon, and colored pencil 25 x 32 x 9 inches
Diane Simpson Neckline (extended) 2011 Light density fiberboard (LDF), aluminum, enamel, and colored pencil 85 x 50 x 14 inches
Diane Simpson Collar (connect the dots) 2012 MDF, linen canvas, enamel, ink, and basswood 48 1/2 x 28 x 13 1/2 inches
Diane Simpson Yoke 2012 MDF, enamel, oil stain, crayon, and aluminum 64 x 20 x 16 inches
Diane Simpson Collar (on altered table) 2010 wood table, MDF, and enamel 34 x 25 x 12 inches
Diane Simpson Collar (fluted) 2011 archival cardboard and crayon 24 x 23 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches
Diane Simpson Cape (buttressed) 2011 MDF, oil stain, acrylic paint, and colored pencil 27 x 24 1/2 x 7 inches (sculpture); 18 1/2 x 36 1/2 x 15 inches (base)
Diane Simpson Cape (SL) 2011 Gatorfoam board, spunbond polyester, and crayon 17 x 50 x 11 1/2 inches
Diane Simpson Cuffs 2012 Wooden plant stand, enamel, MDF, and embossed paper 48 1/2 x 18 1/2 x 12 inches
Diane Simpson Study for Tunic (folded) 2012 MDF, colored pencil, ink, archival cardboard, and enamel 40 x 38 x 3 inches
Diane Simpson Drawing for Collar (on altered table) 2010 graphite on two sheets of vellum graph paper with collage 21 1/2 x 24 inches
Diane Simpson Drawing for Cape (SL) 2011 graphite on two sheets of vellum graph paper with collage 19 3/4 x 18 1/2 inches
Diane Simpson Drawings for Collars and Vest with Stand 2010 graphite on vellum graph paper with collage 15 x 21 inches
Diane Simpson Drawing for Cape (buttressed) and Yoke 2011 graphite on vellum graph paper 18 x 20 1/2 inches
Diane Simpson Drawing for Tunic (folded) 2012 graphite on vellum graph paper 18 x 22 3/4 inches
Corbett vs. Dempsey is very pleased to present its first solo exhibition of new sculpture and drawings by Diane Simpson. Since her earliest shows at Artemisia and the Phyllis Kind Gallery in the late 1970s, Simpson has been a major force in Chicago sculpture. Indeed, Simpson straddles several generations in Chicago art; she attended the School of the Art Institute in the mid 1950s, received her MFA there in 1971, where she was friends with Imagist artists including Christina Ramberg and Ray Yoshida, and she has maintained deep connections with the abstract conceptual artists of the 1980s, including Richard Rezac and Julia Fish.
Exploring a liminal zone between abstraction and figuration, her sculpture starts with intensive studies in fashion, extracting the human (left as an insinuation) and focusing on the architecture of the attire, its inherent tensions and relaxations, out of which Simpson extrapolates entirely original forms. A collar, a cuff, a hem – each part of a piece of clothing is fodder for formal play, deconstruction and reconstruction. An intense and detail-fixated craftswoman, firmly in the same Windy City tradition as H.C. Westermann, she has worked in diverse materials, including cardboard, MDF, wood, fabric, paper, aluminum, and vintage linoleum, all with a meticulous finish and an aggressive sense of design.
Early in her career, Simpson introduced a way of making 3-D work that translated from drawings, concentrating on the 45-degree angles that helped define a certain kind of perspective. She continues this investigation with an important new piece, based on the same set of calculations, as well as unveiling new freestanding, wall hanging, and shelf-based works. Along with these new sculptures, Corbett vs. Dempsey presents several new drawings, executed on graph paper, which stand both as studies for the sculptures and fully-realized, independent works on paper.
Simpson was the subject of a retrospective, Sculpture + Drawings, 1978-2009, at the Chicago Cultural Center (2009). A full-color, 48-page catalog, with essays by John Corbett and Jason Foumberg, accompanies the exhibition.