Rose B. Simpson: Ground
The Pomona College Museum of Art presents “Rose B. Simpson: Ground,” an exhibition that integrates Simpson’s monumental clay sculptures with Pomona College’s collection of Native American Art.
Working as both artist and curator, Simpson explores complex issues surrounding the past, present, and future of Native America, including contemporary Native identity and cultural survival. For this exhibition, she selected objects that obliterate the western dichotomy of aesthetic versus utilitarian objects to propose an indigenous aesthetic of use and human connectedness. “Ground” connects objects, hallowed and hollowed by use, to her figural sculptures that speak to cultural continuation in a post-apocalyptic future.
The title “Ground” embraces the many meanings of the word as both noun and verb. She points out that ground is the place where we find our feet. Ground down describes years of smoothing wear that form a stone into a tool or wears an indentation into a bowl, “marks of thousands of hours of intention, passion, survival, body movement.” Its use as a past-tense verb prompts her to ask ”Are our current actions (as Indigenous peoples) no longer valid, based on the supremacy of historical fact over the disenfranchisement of our current situation? Have we been worn away into nothing? Or is that wearing the act of turning something inedible into a delicacy?” Ground offers hope and promise: “To ground oneself is to reconnect physically to the earth, to root, to restore power, to build a strong foundation.”
Rose B. Simpson is a mixed-media artist working in ceramic sculpture, metal, fashion, painting, music, performance, installation, and, most recently, custom cars. Her work has been exhibited at SITE Santa Fe (2008, 2015); the Heard Museum (2009, 2010); the Museum of Contemporary Native Art, Santa Fe (2010); the National Museum of the American Indian, Smithsonian (2008); and the Denver Art Museum in conjunction with the Native Artists Residency (2013). She is a member of the board of directors of Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute, located at the Santa Clara Pueblo. Living and working in Santa Clara, Simpson is a caretaker of one of the Institute’s sites—a classroom space and future model for sustainable living systems.
“Rose B. Simpson: Ground” is the second in a continuing series of exhibitions (Nuance of Sky: Edgar Heap of Birds Invites Spirit Objects to Join His Art Practice) that invite prominent indigenous artists to present their work in dialogue with historic works held by the Pomona College Museum of Art. The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalog with an essay by Lucy Lippard.
For more information on objects selected and arranged by the artist from the Pomona College Collection, please click HERE.
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Artist Rose Simpson shares her journey as a contemporary artist from multicultural origins. Rose B. Simpson at CreativeMornings Santa Fe, April 2016.
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