The Leper Squint Paintings

There are these paintings by the British artist Michael Simpson – The Leper Squint Paintings – which I find exceptionally interesting.

The Leper Squint paintings is a series of works picturing simple ladders raised to small black rectangles high up on walls. The rectangles are illustrating holes in the walls, squints that were once built into medieval church walls so that the undesirables (lepers and other outcasts) could take in sermons while remaining outside the congregation. The Leper Squint paintings are about discrimination, about a historical praxis of exclusion and inequality.

leper-squint-16

Michael Simpson: Leper Squint (16)

But The Leper Squint paintings can also be seen as a contemplation of looking; a study of the importance of seeing, and the mysterious power of those who decide who is to see what.

And how can one know what is worth seeing, anyway … ?

There are thick layers of meaning to be excavated in Simpson’s work. But I must also add that I find the material side of the these paintings really attractive, se how things are about to disintegrate at the edges of the canvases – .

 


Michael Simpson (b.1940) lives and works in Wiltshire, UK. He studied at Bournemouth College of Art (1958-60) and Royal College of Art, London (1960-63).


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