Born in Ottawa in 1947, Bowen Island artist and musician, Gregg Simpson, has been active in visual art, music and multi-media since the mid-1960s. He was instrumental in the early developments in Vancouver’s 1960s “golden age” of multi-media, such as the Sound Gallery and Intermedia. As a professional drummer and percussionist, he has performed since for over forty years with some of the major names in jazz.
His work has been exhibited in museums and galleries in Canada, the U.S., France, England, Italy, Austria, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Malaysia, and South America and is included in over 100 private and public collections in, Europe, Asia and North America.
Simpson’s work has been written about and studied in several art journals, history books and academic studies at several major institutions including: the Sorbonne in Paris, the Université Rabelais de Tours, France and the Accademia Tiberina in Rome in a recent presentation by Professor Antonio Malmo.
In Paris, his work has been exhibited and published by two renowned art historians who were both colleagues of the Surrealist Group’s founder, André Breton. The first, José Pierre, included the artist in his landmark book, L’Univers Surréaliste, (Editions Somogy,1983) and in 1999, Sarane Alexandrian put Simpson’s work in his periodical, Supériore Inconnu.
Simpson’s work has evolved from the collages and Pop-influenced paintings of the 1960s, through the neo-Surrealism of the 1970s to an organic abstraction in the last twenty years. The west coast rainforest where he grew up and lives today is always an underlying factor in Simpson’s work, alternating with formalist
tendencies derived from European art, especially surrealism and abstraction.
Simpson has spent much time traveling and exhibiting in France, Spain, Portugal and Italy. In 2001, he exhibited a retrospective of drawings from 1978-1999 in Seillans, France, the last home of one of his heroes, Max Ernst. In May 2000, Simpson exhibited at the Fortezza di Montalcino, a 14th Century castle in Tuscany, the subject of a BRAVO TV documentary in 2003.
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