When viewing Bill Simpson’s paintings there is the sensation of walking alongside him as he shares his favorite haunts with us. Together we search shoreline sandbars and rips where stripers and blues fight the tide with the safety of deep water near by. Or he may lead us above a wooded stream where dappled light rakes the water camouflaging undisturbed trout.
On land Simpson once again trains our eyes to a single moment where the light, color and atmosphere of a New England day coalesce into a snapshot of memory; triggered by something not seen quite that way before. In each painting he gives us a view, like a fisherman revealing his favorite spot, of a fleeting moment in nature.
This year has been one of expansion and experiments with playful and more spontaneous totems, animal figures and non-objective sculptures. My biggest challenge has always been to try ideas that I don’t know how I will resolve. For example, 1.5” solid square stainless steel does not heat or hammer well, but ignoring these facts of the trade will hopefully lead me to a more original hammered finish that would catch the viewer’s eyes.
There are definitely recipes for success in making sculpture, but I am also inspired by creating new recipes that question how we think about sculpture, metal, animals or the way mediums interact, compete, or complement one another.
Skinny People continue to evolve as I love to make them. There is something alluring about physically extracting a figure out of a hot bar of steel, transforming it from a square rod into an animated and gestural figure. This year I am working on making them more textured with different finishes and less conforming to what is expected of a hammered piece of hot metal.
Making the series of figures has led me to making knives, swords and blades, which has been a very slow progression of learning, tolerance and patience. This has proven to be a very educational experience in the art of alloys, annealing, tempering, and sharpening all of which are needed to a blade that can be used not just adorned.
So as I continue to find new ways to work and create art I also love the people who support the art and am always willing to give an open ear to any suggestions or new ideas to help inspire me.