Art in Review The work of Rose B. Simpson
Throughout her career, Santa Clara Pueblo artist Rose B. Simpson has maintained a self-reflective, personal connection that permeates all of her work. Whether she’s crafting monumental warrior figures in clay and mixed media, wall-mounted masks, dolls, fashion designs, or other figurative works, she employs the same aesthetic in each piece, conveying a sense of raw, unpretentious earthiness.
One never doubts that her connection to the earth is authentic. Simpson spent her childhood with her family living off the grid at Santa Clara’s Flowering Tree Permaculture Institute. As she explains in a videotaped interview on view in the exhibition The Work of Rose B. Simpson, her experience was entirely disconnected from the day-to-day experience of neighbor kids whose families had televisions, houses, cars, and other amenities that were never a part of her early upbringing. Simpson learned to be resourceful and brings to her work an ethical use of natural materials. The exhibit, currently on display at the Wheelwright Museum of the American Indian, continues through October 2019.
is a mid-career retrospective, Simpson’s first. Primarily a show of sculpture, is presented in a reverent way that allows the viewer to commune with each work singly while also providing a cohesive sense of the relationships between the works. Most impressive is the arrangement of several life-sized figurative sculptures, each individually placed in a low-light setting that feels intimate and respectful, like entering a sanctum.