ARTHUR SIMMS, I AM THE BUSH DOCTOR, ONE HALO

18/02/2023 - 9/05/2023

Arthur Simms Video interview
ARTHUR SIMMS, I AM THE BUSH DOCTOR, ONE HALO

San Carlo Cremona is pleased to present Arthur Simms, “I Am The Bush Doctor, One Halo.” , the first show of 2023 to be held in the 17th-century deconsecrated church of San Carlo at Via Bissolati 33, Cremona. San Carlo Cremona renews the collaboration with Servane Mary who invites artists to exhibit in the space. Each exhibition is a site-specific solo presentation of an artist’s work. For over three decades, Arthur Simms has developed a singular approach to assemblage, producing a prolific body of sculpture, as well as dimensional paintings and works on paper. Born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica (1961), Simms was inspired in early childhood by the improvisationally constructed carts he saw transporting goods to and from the market (he lived in Kingston until age 7, when his family moved to New York). Simms developed a fluency with this sort of construction— clearly articulating a singular object from many disparate elements—and by the 1990s added hemp as both a practical binding agent and source of formal unison that would become his trademark. Bound by hemp, and by the late 90s, wire, Simms' sculptures contain natural material, found objects and items of autobiographical significance—spanning a vast diversity of forms. Some sculptures stand monumentally as opaque accumulations of twine; others are wrapped in bare networks of wire, their contents clearly legible.

At once many and whole, rife with art and world historical references, Simms' sculptures both capture a breadth of cultural information and reflect the fractured, diffusive effects of the diasporic experience. Invited to create an installation for San Carlo Cremona, Simms exhibits sculptures and drawings inspired by the 17th century church. Several of the works are created specifically for the site. Historically, Simms’s work has dealt with the spiritual, scale, light and reflection. This installation gives Simms the opportunity to explore all these themes in a unique environment. Works exhibited include the sculpture “La Luce”, the tallest indoor piece that the artist has ever created and “I Am The Bush Doctor, One Halo.”, a drawing from which the show gets its title. At four meters long, it is the tallest drawing that the artist has made. The title of the exhibition, “I Am The Bush Doctor, One Halo.”, references Simms’ native Jamaica where bush doctors are individuals who concoct home remedies to treat physical ailments. Simms has used the halo - a potent symbol in both religion and art history - when titling his drawings, often referring its mere shape while reflecting on its iconography.

ARTHUR SIMMS
ARTHUR SIMMS

Arthur Simms lives and works in Staten Island, NY. His most recent solo exhibition, “And I Say, Brother Had A Very Good Day, One Halo”, Martos Gallery, New York (2021) was reviewed in The New York Times, Artforum, TheGuide.Art, Hyperallergic, and New York Magazine, with Jerry Saltz naming it among the best exhibitions of the year. Other recent and forthcoming presentations include exhibitions at Karma Gallery Los Angeles (2023, solo); The Thomas Dane Gallery, Napoli (2022); The Kingston Biennial, Jamaica (2022); The American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (2022); White Columns, New York (2022); Shoot the Lobster, New York (2019, solo); and the 58th Venice Biennale (2019). Arthur Simms is the recipient of many prestigious grants and awards including The American Academy of Arts and Letters (2006); The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1999/2000); Prix de Rome (2002/2003); and many others. In 2022, Simms was inducted into the American Academy of Art and Design. He is Program Director and Professor of the Arts at CUNY, LaGuardia Community College, New York. Simms also serves on the Board of Directors of MacDowell, Peterborough, NH, and the Board of Governors of the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME.