UltraViolet2 LSimpson 2015 9e0cb

Lorna Simpson’s Artwork Beautifully Explores The Complexity Of Black Hair

by Byshera Williams

Lorna Simpson is a photographer and multimedia artist who has been working for more than 30 years. She has had exhibits at Denver Art Museum, the Portland Art Museum, and the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and her art is truly stunning. She is currently working and residing in New York City. “The images she puts into the world are consistent proof of art’s ability to deal with loaded questions involving race, gender, identity, sex, and other social and political dilemmas,” writes Dodie Kazanjian in Vogue.

In a new book Lorna Simpson CollagesSimpson takes on the complexity of black hair. The images in the book began as photographs of black women and men that were originally printed in vintages issues of Ebony and Jet magazines. “Black women’s hair are galaxies unto themselves, solar systems, moonscapes, volcanic interiors,” writes Elizabeth Alexander, the award-winning writer, poet, scholar, and arts advocate, in the introduction.

The book lets you grapple with spender, complexity, discomfort that you might experience from the juxtaposition of photorealistic faces and abstract ink washes, geological formations, and other unexpected interpretations of black hair. In Simpson’s artist statement, a poem made from phrases used in advertisements, we find the quote “A beautiful head of hair is never an accident,” and Simpson powerfully showcases that sentiment.  Below we have a sample of images that can be found in the full book.

Lorna Simpson Collages cover f714e

JetProblem LSimpson 2012 f11aa

Jet1263 LSimpson 2012 34e28

Jet1560 LSimpson 2012 dd7d0

JetDoubleSit in LSimpson 2012 1723f

JetNurse LSimpson 2012 0b726

EarthSky 17 LSimpson 2016 b2f82

EarthSky 10 LSimpson 2016 fe8da

AFriend LSimpson 2012 dd55a

Jet1158 LSimpson 2012 3919d

Images from Lorna Simpson Collagespublished by Chronicle Books 2018

Published June 11, 2018

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