Artist Rich Simmons returns to the Imitate Modern Gallery this summer with a brand new collection of work in an exhibition called “The Inner Outsider”. The new body of work challenges the viewer to see the world differently and from a new perspective – to observe beauty in everything not simply the obvious.
The title of the exhibition communicates Rich’s own status as a self taught artist with no formal training – himself as The Outsider – who is focused on showcasing the beauty and juxtapositions that exist within everything. If we look a bit closer to see the beauty hidden around us everywhere, we would also see The Inner meanings of this beauty. Rich wants to inspire many different reactions and questions – to incite debate and thought.
Rich himself is proud to be trail blazing a new genre of art – a fusion of street and pop art often inspired by retro, vintage style 50s imagery. The use of his now iconic vivid colours like bubble gum pink, scarlet red, teals and indigos combined with contrast versions of the same image in coffee and black cappuccino hues create a unique visual result. Couple that with the hand drawn and hand cut stencils, drop shadows and ripped billboards and Rich is proving himself as both an innovator and highly collectable artist.
Ripping down bill board posters, soaking the layers apart and seeing the beauty that lies in the layers – creates a form of street art archaeology and gives posters that were destined to never see the light of day again, a new lease of life. Rich pastes them onto canvas and creates 3D style backgrounds and backdrops for the visuals that deliver a unique texture and result.
Many of the images strike an intensely personal chord – the marriage of the beautiful and the twisted representing Rich’s own battle with depression and autism. Using art as his own therapy, Rich trapped his personal demons on canvas and harnessed negative emotions to make something beautiful.
The new 35 piece collection includes: Skulls in Butterflies – Inspired by one of Rich’s vivid dreams, look closer at the butterfly patination and see the skulls inside. With the butterflies symbolising beauty and the skulls morbidity and death, morbidity is turned into a positive by the beautiful butterfly environment.
Chanel Bottles and Skeleton Hands – depicts the idea of us chasing the ideals of vanity and status symbols to the grave. You can’t take vanity to the grave – clutching on to it isn’t going to matter in the end. The tiny crack on the hand represents Rich’s own broken wrist whilst working on the exhibition.
Airplane and bombs – demonstrates the juxtaposition and irony in trying to achieve peace through the process of war. The use of the Louis Vuitton logo, dollar bills, peace signs and graffiti tags on bombs suggest the political message of creating peace through art not war.
Other images in the collection include “Skulls made of hidden insects” – all of which also represent the juxtaposition of beauty and the twisted.
Says Rich: “This new collection reflects the past 6 months of my life working one handed 24/7 with a broken wrist in my studio putting down on canvas all the ideas that come to me day and night. It’s so important for me to inspire and to challenge people to see the world differently. I feel it’s a complete step up from my last collection, and a natural evolution of my maturity. The overall feel is darker yet more colourful, more beautiful yet also more twisted.”
Fallon Khan, Gallery Director at Imitate Modern; ‘We are thrilled to be welcoming Rich back to the gallery with a whole new body of work. Collectors and press are eagerly awaiting the exhibition unveiling. We are proud to represent the best and most innovative artistic talent the UK has to offer and Rich most definitely falls into this category.”