Art in America spoke with New Mexico artist Rose B. Simpson about her solo show “Road Less Traveled,” currently on view at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. She told us about how her artistic approach reflects her journey through life.
Over the past decade, Simpson has produced a veritable pantheon of clay beings that honor Pueblo traditions while anticipating an upcoming apocalypse. Bearing such hallmark signifiers as slit eyes, absent limbs, and desert tones, these figures serve as characters in a quiet but profound epic that begins in the Southwest—in northern New Mexico, to be exact—but whose relevance extends into the beyond.
Check out a recent Art in America feature about Simpson by Lou Cornum from our November 2022 issue.
Watch the full video above or on the official Art in America YouTube channel.
My name is Rose B. Simpson. The exhibition is called “Road Less Traveled,” and it’s at Jack Shainman Gallery in New York. “Road Less Traveled” is me challenging the very things that I took for granted or the processes that seemed easy and often are unhealthy. And if I take some time and witness what’s possible, I can transform my own reality and hopefully, by default, help other people, too.
The work represents my own journey, whether it’s psychological investigation, a new spiritual awareness, or it’s a very practical emotional or psychological space that I need to inhabit in order to transform my reality. The work offers me a reflection of what’s possible and I make it and I visualize it, and then it becomes… a thing. And then I get to witness this thing, and from it, I get to grow. Every single mark on the surface of these pieces means something. Either they’re stars, they’re X’s, which represent protection, or they represent tracks or days or the marking of time or the process around journey. When I use things like beads in a line or I put a line of markings in a row, it’s a specific number, like seven generations, or it’s seven directions, or it represents the months of the year. To me, it represents the process of going somewhere. So, the journey that we’re on.
Featuring: Rose B. Simpson
Producer and Editor: Christopher Garcia Valle
Director of Photography: Jasdeep Kang
Copy Edits: Emily Watlington
Additional Edits: Jacob Amorelli