The more you look, the more there is to see. The father back you stand, the more there is to see. In this sense, I make work that refuses to stand still, that cannot be taken in all at once, that cannot be consumed in full. It unfolds endlessly.
I make work this way to teach a lesson, to demonstrate a practice of seeing the complex and immanent forces that swirl around the edges of perception. What happens when you widen your gaze, or when you look closely? I’m interested in the new wirings and firings that might happen in your brain when your focus pulls in and out but can’t hit bottom. What, then, leaps to your attention beyond the borders of this work? How does it spill into your life, next week, or when you leave this space? What else are you learning to see about the world?
My work traverses mixed media drawing, collage, and printmaking to blossom into full-scale immersive installation. With printmaking, I take on a darkly lighthearted tone, using humor, sexuality, and anxiety to make ornament of contemporary sociopolitics. As both writer and artist, I've always loved the marriage of text and image made possible by traditional printmaking. With mixed-media drawing and installation, I manipulate scale to inspire vertigo and inquiry. I persist in describing the work as drawing (as opposed to “painting”), because I am fascinated by line, structure, motion, and the sense that it is always on the cusp of completion. The breathless quality of refusing to stand still is essential.
Weaving myth, autobiography, and current events, my work pushes transformation. Newspapers and books on old wars get buried with ink and graphite, then unearthed as creature and form. Collective history gets swallowed by leviathan dreamscapes, the dying salt marshes and fetid love of my New England home. The creativity of nightmare, the necessity of metaphor, and faith in animism inform my imagery. One figure, caught as it becomes another, calls you inward. Don’t you want to see what opens when you look?
Nicole Simpkins grew up reading books and climbing trees on the New England coast in an old Victorian cottage by a salt marsh. She moved to the Twin Cities to pursue her BA in English from Macalester College in Saint Paul, MN. She holds an MFA in Printmaking from Indiana University, Bloomington. She is currently employed as an instructor of Drawing and 2-D Design at The University of Wisconsin - Stout. Nicole lives and works in South Minneapolis.
I wanna hear from you: get in touch! If you are interested in purchasing work, please write via email. Prints from Scylla & Circe Press are also available on Etsy, for now. I like making band art, especially if you make doom, metal, punk, and heavy music, and especially if you are rad, female, queer, and/or witchy. Write to me!