Inspired by the intersection of nature and consciousness, J.E. Simpson looks to scientific inquiries: themes such as entropy, symmetry, information, chaos, complexity. In particular these ideas are coupled with an obsessive need to write.
On St Patrick's day a few years back J.E. Simpson found myself sipping whiskey with a shaggy haired pal in Trinity Bellwoods Park. There he came across a curious branch protruding from the ice. Simpson lugged it home and in a sudden impulse – mulling over the philosophical implications – began inscribing in a frenzy of psychic automatism and late night clanging, a loose ramble onto the wood. Several years have now passed of writing on branches and trunks continuously using a small rusty hammer and letter punch set. J.E. Simpson pursues psychological tropes within each work: automatic writing, dreaming, perception, déjà vu, memory, desire, existentialism, embodied subjectivity, ontology, and phenomenology.
Simpson is informed by a broad spectrum of writing, ranging from contemporary literature and poetry, to the first developments of expression through mark-making. From the caves of Lascaux, to hieroglyphs, from cuneiform tablets to Ipad tablets, from smoke signals to ones and zeros. Our current 'electric world' as referred to by McLuhan, has its genesis in the development of phonetic alphabets, and later by way of the Gutenberg press. He delves into the physicality of an original transcription method: the hammer and chisel, or in his case the hammer and letter punch, invigorating in this way a new historicism, a forming of past and present gestures into new paradigms.
J.E Simpson is inspired by the intersection of nature and consciousness. He looks to scientific inquiries: themes such as entropy, symmetry, information, chaos, complexity. In particular these ideas are coupled with an obsessive need to write. Transcribed on a fallen cherry branch, If A Tree Falls draws from the concept of eternal recurrence in Nietzsche: the protagonist struggles to escape a perpetual feeling of déjà vu. From this work Simpson hase produced a series of graphite rubbings on Japanese paper, capturing fragments of the wooden narrative. The technique of frottage in this instance is symbolic of disseminating consciousness. His will to work with tree limbs stems from the natural fact that consciousness, however elusive it may be, is generated by a chaotic orchestra of neurotransmitters: little molecules passing between branching neurons. Out of nature these phantasy objects become absurdist totems, boundless monuments to the sublime.