In his largest exhibition to date, Michael Simpson shows work spanning the last 25 years including new paintings.
Simpson makes large scale paintings in ongoing series that repeat and rework a number of key elements relating to the infamy of religious history. His Bench Painting series (1989–2009) began as an homage to the Neapolitan renegade philosopher Giordano Bruno, burnt at the stake by the inquisition in Rome’s Campo de’ Fiori in 1600; Simpson corresponded with the Irish playwright Samuel Beckett, another major influence on works that are simultaneously devoid of figures yet weighed down by the human condition.
Simpson’s austere works are rooted in a fascination with 15th Century Venetian and early Flemish painting, inflected by the formal restraint and reduced palette of Minimalism. Very much at odds with the Pop Art production of his contemporaries with whom he studied at the Royal College of Art in the 1960s – David Hockney, Peter Blake, Derek Boshier – Simpson has marked out a distinctive space within contemporary painting.