Gary Simmons exploits the persistence of memory and nostalgia with subtly charged half-erased chalk drawings of abandoned buildings and forest scenes as viewed from a moving train. The ghostly chalk images are presented in a maze-like installation on free-standing double-sided chalkboards. Complementing the physical tactility of the chalkboards are color photographs of empty classrooms and lecture halls that freeze the eerie quiet and emptiness of rooms designed to be filled with privileged university students. The photographs underscore Simmons' ability to tap our underlying ambivalence toward social institutions that demark both class and economic experiences.
Simmons' increasingly subtle and deeply-embedded sensitivity to social issues allows him to make art that is both poetic and powerful. The views from a train are extensions of Simmons' signature images such as speeding locomotives, trajectories of bullets, ballrooms, and grand staircases that followed his use of negative racial images from early cartoons and comics.
Gary Simmons lives in New York City. He attended the School of Visual Arts in NYC and Cal Arts in Los Angeles. Recent one-person exhibitions of Simmons' work include the Margo Leavin Gallery in Los Angeles, Galerie Phillipe Rizzo in Paris, The San Diego Museum of Art, and the Lannan Foundation in Los Angeles. His work has been represented in exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; The Kunstmuseum, Zurich; The Royal College of Art, London; and The Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam.
For further information please contact Jeff Gauntt at Metro Pictures or firstname.lastname@example.org
For additional reading please refer to the following:
Nancy Princenthal, "Gary Simmons: Disappearing Acts," Art & Text, May-July, 1997, pp. 52-57