Red Violet to Green, 1967.
David William Simpson (American, born 1928)
Polymer on canvas, 24 5/8 x 146 in. Crocker Art Museum Purchase, 1968.7.

Throughout his career, David Simpson has persistently avoided identifying with artistic movements, ranging from Minimalism to Hard-Edge, Op Art and Color Field. Yet all could apply to the painting Red Violet to Green. It belongs to the series Rainbows, which highlight Simpson’s adoption of polymer and acrylic paints. These spread flat, and their saturation offers new exploration of color relationships.

After earning his M.F.A. at San Francisco State College in 1958, he taught briefly in Sacramento, where he painted landscapes inspired by the broad valley. What he most wanted was an essential, non-objective mode of painting. A short time later, he returned to the Bay Area and began to achieve this through his taste for bright colors and graphic lines.

The extreme horizontality of this narrow canvas evidences lingering concepts of the landscape. However, this painting is above all about the immediacy of and reaction to the experience of visuals meant to stimulate both the senses and thought processes.

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