Figure Painting

2016

‘Figure Painting’ is a series of oil paintings of the toys from Joe’s childhood. The collection is a love letter to the action figures of the 1970s, 80s & 90s.  

The 34 paintings launched as a solo exhibition at The Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane, London - February 24th - March 5th 2017.  Limited Edition prints of each painting are available from joesimpson.bigcartel.com.  For a price list of originals please email sales@joe-simpson.co.uk.

"This project started whilst going through my Mum’s attic sorting through my old belongings and on discovering my old toys I got a wave of nostalgia and memories from these little inanimate plastic figures.  They were such a big part of my life as a child. When you haven’t seen something for years (they’ve been hidden away in a box, shut away in the attic uncorrupted by later associations) to see them again provokes an involuntary memory and acts as a portal back in time, provoking a moment of appreciation rather than mere recollection.  I want these paintings to have that ‘Proustian’ affect on other people." 

 

 

"I’ve painted each portrait on a natural linen canvas, to give them a timeless feel that is removed from context.  I’ve tried to paint them in a way that describes the tactile surface of each figure, the texture, the touch – even the taste.  Which sounds a little odd, but I think most kids chewed on their toys at some point, and taste is such a strong evoker of nostalgia due to the initial processing of these stimuli passing through the emotional seat of the brain. For example, painting the He-Man figure, I tried to make the head look squishy and chewy compared to the rigid plastic of his torso.”

 

"There’s a quote that I like by Roger Fry from ‘An Essay in Aesthetics’ first published in 1909, he says - ‘it is only when an object exists in our lives for no other purpose than to be seen that we really look at it’.  I believe that’s true for representational painting, I’m trying to elevate these figures into something to be looked at, dwelled on and considered." 




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