Wichita artist Jim Simpson is a fisherman. Fishing and being out in nature is a mission for Mr. Simpson.
In studying this artist I found a picture of him on social media, standing before 24 or more striped bass he caught at Lake Texoma. And when you see his latest solo exhibit at the Riney Gallery at Friends University you will realize his love of nature, birds, and fish is an extension of that mindset and mission.
Thirty-nine works in the show take us on a wildlife journey through the eyes and mind of Simpson. His color pallet for the paintings and works on paper is on fire with salmon pinks, reds, and oranges, cooled by ultramarine blues, and earthy hues. We see strangely segmented, almost machine-like northern pike or muskies, swimming mightily in the benthos. The stunning colors accent sunlight beaming through the waters. These creatures seem simultaneously powerful and vulnerable. A graceful egret, stalking in shallow water also makes an appearance, as well as a gorgeous indigo bird falling from the sky.
Jim Simpson’s brush strokes and scratches in the actual paint make for fascinating surfaces and show the artist’s technique. He also employs crayon, charcoal, and collage, to add interesting depth. The work is strong, fresh, and original. This body of work originated out of a group of sketch ideas for a sculpture. You can tell by how the fish mimic 3D. The approach is profound.
See this exhibition in a hurry because it runs through this Friday, and then it’s gone.