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J. Michael Simpson

Sprengeri Studio Gallery

Sprengeri Studio Gallery
Painting, Video, Drawing, & Installation

“Being There” What is called an experience in ‘Nature’ usually refers to a trip to a park or nature preserve, compounds of natural elements where one can still experience the forces of nature. Perhaps it is embedded in our psyches, but experiencing trees, mountains, streams, or thickets of brush fortify the body, mend the soul, and release our mind to re-imagine how life can be. We seek those enclosures expecting to play, find peace of mine, or contemplate life choices. We seek the natural for many reasons, but these places offer opportunities to repair, rebuild, and recreate ourselves, a product of engaging the forces of nature with the human spirit. That connection can be found in many places. A place that I frequent is a nearby park that features a whitewater river gorge. There, the continuous motion of the infinite variety of trees, plants, water, and clouds seem to wrap around me. I sense being at one with myself and at the center of all that is around me, a spiritual sensation that inspires my work. To make that sensation clear, a video recording of the site is made by swirling the camera around the site in repeated circular motions. Through a series of digital manipulations, still images from the video are cropped, manipulated, and reorganized into compositions of nested concentric circles or intersecting arcs. Those digital configurations serve as reference for drawings on wood, watercolors on paper, or tondos on canvas. Given the character of my experience at this river gorge, a circle is the appropriate motif and format for my work. But more, as a symbol, it can bring-to-mind the endless cycles of rejuvenation that connect the forces of nature with the human spirit.
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