Grazing and Gazing
June 11-July 23, 2022
At the start of many of the paintings was a layer of red, also the signature color used on the capes of matadors in a bullfight. It’s a myth that it is the color of the cape that enrages the bull; in reality it is the movement. Often, one thing can function in many ways at once.
The appearance of something, or the end product, is merely a piece of a whole. The underpainting that leads to the finished work is an enigma. Ultimately unseen but essential to Simpson’s intuitive method of painting. It is invisible labor. Some paintings in the exhibition are poignantly left with a roughness, this red hue – laying bare a way of working and making that is ongoing rather than final. Grazing and gazing, both incessant and unending; a kind of egalitarian labor.
Ballon Rouge is excited to present Peter Simpson’s first solo exhibition, Grazing and Gazing, an exhibition about milk, cows, labor, capital, production, and dreams - both possible and alighted. It is an invitation to look outside, to question who we are aside from and besides what we do and what we produce.
His paintings have always told stories, whether singularly or within a series; they are narrative, process-based paintings. His process is similar to that of a writer’s; one work dictates the next, impulse and instinct, erasure and addition. Each painting hints at and builds a larger story - they work for each other. Like ants working for a bigger purpose, creating a working village of parts.
There is only one painting in this show of a full human figure. There is a working class village with ants underground; a cow daydreaming without its udders. Flying udders and open windows, fortune cookies and pastures. These paintings are seductive and off-putting at once. They attract you and lure you, a red cape with many uses and meanings, embedded in myth. And like any good myth making, they do so in many different ways all at once, with no easy answers. - N. O'Rourke
Peter Simpson (b. 1989, Liverpool) is an English artist and writer from Liverpool who studied at Wimbledon College of Art, London and currently lives and works in Brussels. His practice is mostly focused on Painting and Sculpture and he has exhibited in a number of exhibitions and participated in residencies across London, Madrid and Brussels, such as Intercambiador Acart Madrid and Generation Brussels, 2019, among others. He showed with Ballon Rouge in a group exhibition in 2020 and at Art Antwerp 2021. And most recently he showed works in Marseille at la traverse.