Martos After Dark is pleased to announce Night Fever, One Halo. by Arthur Simms. Comprised of works spanning two decades, this exhibition brings together seven pieces by Simms that will be on view, night and day, through the windows of Martos After Dark on the corner of Canal and Elizabeth Streets. Works like Mell (2003), created at the American Academy in Rome, is the oldest in the exhibition composed of wood, rope, wire, wheels and plastic. This work, that is bound together by pressure, crosses sight-lines with the translucent Night Fever, One Halo. (2022), the only work that was created specifically for this installation and shares the title of the exhibition. This central piece on acetate hangs from the ceiling. Along with recognizably typical Simms collage elements, it contains a circular “halo” made of tape surrounded by colored feathers. From the anonymity of found objects and raw materials: bottles, rope, a toy truck, to the specific intimacy of hair from the artist and his wife painter Lucy Fradkin, the works in the exhibition come together to create a unique environment. Atomized again and again, the viewer’s attention shifts from object to object. A roller-skate becomes a Beetle (2015). Feathers and stones transform into a Landscape (2006). In turning the corner from Canal to Elizabeth Streets and back, the works overlap in new ways both visually and meaningfully like a participatory collage in the round.
Arthur Simms’ practice, over three decades long, comprises sculpture, frequently wrapped tightly with rope and wire, as well as paintings and drawings almost always assembled from a variety of materials and objects. Born in Saint Andrew, Jamaica (1961), Simms was inspired in early childhood by the improvisational 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). He has described his work as full of associations to his hybrid autobiography in America and Jamaica as well as surrealist techniques of unconscious assemblage and the Duchamp-ian readymade.
Arthur Simms is the recipient of many prestigious grants and awards including the Irving Sandler Prize from the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program (2022); The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award (2007); The American Academy of Arts and Letters (2006); The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship (1999/2000); Prix de Rome (2002/2003); The Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant 1997); and many others. 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. Recent exhibitions include And I Say, Brother Had A Very Good Day, One Halo, Martos Gallery, New York (2021); Throughline, Shoot the Lobster, New York (2019); and the 58th Venice Biennale (2019). Arthur Simms work is currently featured in the Kingston Biennial in Kingston, Jamaica.