Large hand-made cherry wood frames immaculately display more than twenty traditional black and white fibre prints. Near the window of the gallery, plants and a small collection of other oddities comprise Heath Simpson's own "natural history" collection. The addition of coloured flood lighting and a brilliant yellow wall makes this one of the swankiest exhibits I have attended in a while.
From the sounds of his artist talk today, this is something that Simpson was going for. It reflects the often over-the-top nature of the natural history museums and zoos he visited in Germany; a country that Simpson has a self-professed love of. Interestingly, the large, architectural black and white images have a melancholy feel to them. Entirely void of people and often void of the live animals one might expect to see as well, the viewer is left to question the spaces and institutions Simpson has focused on.
Reflexive of Simpson's focus on both printmaking and photography while studying at NSCAD University, the prints are of the utmost quality and are without a doubt inviting objects. Certainly, one can easily enjoy these images without a fine art background or working understanding of some of the artist who inspired him. What develops as one of the exhibitions most interesting dialogues is its dual anachronistic nature. The very institutions that Simpson focused on are becoming as obsolete as the analogue photography that he employed to make the pictures. For me, this is what makes Sammlung stand out most.
The exhibition runs until Saturday, February 9th. If you are in Halifax, be sure to check it out before it closes.
All works © Heath Simpson, 2012-2013