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Larry Simons

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LARRY SIMONS - Live It Up I make assemblages from whatever I find. I love rummaging around for splintered pieces of old fallen-down wooden structures, especially collapsed barns with weathered gray siding and red trim. Rather than re-coloring anything, I prefer to work with the palette I find. While living out west in the 1960’s, I fell in love with the raw beauty of the mountains and the desert. I was particularly drawn to un-restored ghost towns and the remnants of the mines they had grown up around, where I found rusted metal with a reddish tone not seen in damper climates and deeply grained shards of wood which had hardened with age in the dry air. A recycler by nature, virtually everything I use in my art has had a previous life—furniture parts, tool handles, toy blocks, croquet sets, bobbins and wooden patterns from steel mills—much of which is brought to me by packrat-types who enjoy seeing what I do with the treasures they’ve found. Driftwood is one of my favorite materials, especially painted fragments of wrecked boats and buildings which have been tumbled to perfection in the water. I spread bits and pieces of things that I like looking at throughout my studio so I can see as many as possible at a glance and I constantly move them around making different combinations on my work-tables until I’m satisfied with an assemblage; a meditative process that transports me to an other-worldly zone of deep contemplation where every move I make is an attempt to answer the endless questions that occur to me on an aesthetic level. My studio is conveniently located in the basement of my house so it is easily accessible whenever I feel like working. It’s the first place I go every morning and the last place I go every night. The few pieces I’ve painted black sometimes remind people of Louise Nevelson’s work, and while I’m flattered by the comparison, I don’t think they look much like it. The reason I paint them is that many of their parts have no patina and just aren’t pretty to look at as I find them. Paint helps them blend in a way that they otherwise would not and I’m experimenting with other colors for this purpose. The flags are another matter because they are not abstract. I have done a couple of dozen American flags but each is unique. I love the beautiful graphics and enjoy reimagining it. When viewing my work, people often ask me about the origins of various components—what they were and where I got them. These conversations, while interesting, have little to do with beauty, which, for me, is the main objective of art. For this reason, I give my pieces numbers rather than titles because I don’t want to suggest that you will find any familiar images or hidden meanings. This isn’t to say that you won’t, however I haven’t intended any. I simply combine elements because I like the way they look together. What is most important to me is that you enjoy looking at my assemblages and that they draw you back to look some more. I spend lots of time just staring at what I’m working on and staring at a piece of art where the artist’s experience intersects that of the viewer. A meeting of passion and profession have brought me a sense of harmony and fulfillment that was years in the making—a testament to the notion that it is never too late to nurture the creative spirit and drive that is inherent in all of us. The idea that “art arises out of need, lack and deprivation” (The Principles of Art by R.G.Collingwood) hit home for me the first time I drove through a weather-chiseled canyon out west. Who needs sculpture when you can look at this, I remember thinking. But as soon as it was out of sight a desire arose in me to fill the void.


Larry Simons lives with his wife and his flocks on 42 acres near Brattleboro, Vermont

Production Date: 
Friday, September 9, 2022 - 14:45

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