Diane Simpson: Sculpture, Drawing, Prints 1976–2014

Diane Simpson, Samurai 10, 1983, MDF, oil stain, coloured pencil. Courtesy the artist; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; Herald St, London; and JTT, New York. Photo by Tom Van Eynde.
  • Diane Simpson, Samurai 10, 1983, MDF, oil stain, coloured pencil. Courtesy the artist; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; Herald St, London; and JTT, New York. Photo by Tom Van Eynde.

There is a carefully considered balance in the work of the Chicago-based artist Diane Simpson, where fluidity meets rigidity, and minimal flat forms create a complex sense of depth.

In Simpson’s first institutional solo presentation in Europe, Nottingham Contemporary will present four decades of work by the American sculptor, most of which have never previously been shown in the UK.

Meticulously handcrafted, Simpson’s sculptures are constructed from components of fibreboard, plywood and other everyday materials that seamlessly interlock. Forms are borrowed from architectural details, clothing and the bodies that inhabit them, reflecting an interest in the coexistence of the domestic and industrial worlds.

Sculptures begin as drawings that visualise details from the history of clothing and design, rotated at 45-degree angles using techniques borrowed from architecture and engineering as well as Chinese and Japanese art. Adding layers of abstraction, Simpson translates these blueprints into three-dimensional space replicating the 45-degree angle perspective. Simpson’s process will be represented in the exhibition through preparatory drawings on graph paper exhibited alongside sculpture.

The exhibition includes wall-based, freestanding and suspended work from her seminal Samurai series (1981–82) alongside examples from later bodies of work such as Historical (1984–90), Headgear (1990–96) and Apron (2000–05).