Alec

Simpson

Exhibition Introduction

Flash-back / Fast-forward: An Exhibition of Artwork Past and Present

The title of this exhibition takes its name directly from what I am doing – presenting past works (flash-back) and also presenting current works marking the beginning of a series that may be in the making for two or more years to come (fast-forward). The past works include monotypes (one of a kind painterly works created with the use of an etching press), collaged works (employing patches from selected monotypes), and giclee works (prints made using computer technology, in an edition not to exceed 50). The new works are postcard sized mixed-media works which form a series called: “Postcards from Berlin: Rising from the Ashes.” All works in this exhibition are on paper. During this past summer, I spent a month in Berlin. During my stay, I attended and visited many performances, galleries and museums. I also had the opportunity to meet visual artists in their studios, musicians at their performances, media aficionados, actors, dancers, singers, gallerists, performance artists, museum officials, cultural center officials, teachers, students, you name it. I also had the chance to visit with several Berliners in their homes. I came away from Berlin with a deep love for the city and its people. By way of some history, as the capital city for Hitler’s Third Reich, Berlin was hard hit during the Second World War, both through bombing from the Allied Forces and through Hitler’s demolition of landmark structures and city elements (such as 200,000 trees in the Tier Garten) as a part of his master plan to build massive new structures and in some cases for strategic war reasons. After the war, the city lay mostly in a mass of rubble. Since that time, Berlin has been literally and figuratively “rising from the ashes.” While there, one sees constant signs of re-building and new construction, with many new structures stretching the notions of conventional architecture. There are also the ever-present signs of memorializing the past while looking forward to the future. At the fabric of the city is a respect for and support for ideas and artists. The people are beautiful, representing every culture you can imagine, bringing together people from all corners of the world. There is a very poignant “live and let live” attitude among Berlin’s people. The works in this series are composed of many different sources of materials coming from Berlin. From the streets of Berlin I literally picked up items off the streets and in the gutters, announcement postcards from many different performance and exhibition venues, chotchkies from the colorful Turkish bazaar in the Kreuzberg section, maps, beads and colored sand from arts and crafts stores (Berliners love to sun bathe on their make-shift beaches in the middle of the city with imported sand), and many other items, while invariably finding treasure in other people’s trash. Some items were burned to create ashes that were mounted on Berlin post cards or card stock, and then painted with various acrylic media. Each work is one-of-a-kind and has its own personality. For me, the works have a universal message. We all face times in our life when we are, or when we need to rise from the metaphorical ashes of whatever challenge we are facing. I am facing just such a time in my own life … taking ownership of being an artist entrepreneur, and coming to terms with what that means for me regarding making a living. For others, I would imagine that “rising from the ashes” could and would have so many meanings. Whatever the meaning, it is my hope that these works act as symbols of empowerment, courage and overcoming to face each day as a new day with potential for hope and joy, no matter the challenge being faced.

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