Lambrequin and Peplum

Artist: Diane Simpson
installation | Painted fiberboard crayon on polyester, and copper tacks | 2769x1270x787mm | 2017

Inspired by techniques of garment construction and the history of design, Diane Simpson’s sculptures distill wide- ranging sources—from Samurai armor to Amish bonnets and Art Deco architecture—into abstract arrangements of interlocking planes. The works in the Biennial reflect Simpson’s long-standing interest in window displays as framing devices for her work. Since the 1970s, Simpson’s sculptures have originated as drawings, which she creates on graph paper using axonometric projection. This method of depicting three-dimensional objects on a flat surface is common in architecture and engineering, as well as in Chinese and Japanese art. She translates her drawings into three dimensions by joining together support material and then adds decorative patterning to the surfaces by hand—often in pencil or by collaging fabric onto the work. These details of ornamentation are never arbitrary but directly relate to each sculpture’s shape and structure. In 2014 Simpson began experimenting with materials in a series of Peplum sculptures, referencing a type of embellishment encircling the waist of a woman’s garment. As she has explained, “The structure of clothing forms has continuously informed my work, serving as a vehicle for exploring their functional and sociological roles and the influence of the design and architecture of various cultures and periods in history.” (Image courtesy the artist; Corbett vs. Dempsey, Chicago; JTT, New York; and Herald Street, London. Photograph by Tom Van Eynde)


Whitney Biennial 2019 | 2019.05.17 - 2019.09.22 | Whitney Museum of American Art(New York City, NY, United States)