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Four Walls Surveys the Prolific Career of Lenore Simon

SAN DIEGO, CA.- Four Walls is proud to present a solo exhibition of the prolific local printmaker and mixed-media artist Lenore Simon. Surveying various aspects of Simon’s entire career, works in the exhibition range from the artist’s earlier visual explorations, such as scratchboard from the 1940s and monoprints from the 1970s, to recent assemblage and painted three-dimensional forms.

The exhibition focuses on aspects of Simon’s work in which she uses tools associated with mechanical reproduction that she deploys in unconventional ways, like using brayers (small print rollers) to draw, and carved woodblocks and photocopies to create singular unique pieces. Similarly, Lenore Simon: Mechanical Bride also includes works that incorporate mechanically reproduced materials, such as window screens, plastic mannequins, and studio floor debris from previous art pieces, as the substratum of the artist’s work. If Marshall McLuhan’s rumination on mass communication, The Mechanical Bride: Folklore of Industrial Man (1951), forecast a future of dazed distraction that keeps one’s mind off of history, then Simon’s choice of materials and technique empowers the viewer by repurposing aspects of mechanization.

Some of the concerns of Marcel Duchamp’s 1923 The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even may also be seen in Simon’s work in the way mechanical apparatuses appear riddled with myth, chance enhancements come into play, and “readymades” reflect upon the larger social framework when objects and materials are re-contextualized in different settings. In addition, Judy Chicago’s 1979 Dinner Party, a heroic envisioning of Western art history, which incorporated people and practices excluded until then, like primordial goddesses, domestic handicrafts, and other traditional forms of “women’s work,” is woven profoundly into Simon’s stitched soft sculptures.

Regeneration is a common thread that runs through Simon’s body of work. For example, Eve and Wonder Woman are made of castaway store swimsuit forms, which the artist has painted on the inside and outside surfaces, then elaborately adorned with lace or mosaic composed of discarded scraps of letter appliqué forms. These reused stand-ins for ancient statuary combine classical mythology with pop iconography, down to the details embedded within the disposable medium’s recycling stamps. Shredded Dottie, a small color photograph of a similar torso that somehow survived being completely destroyed, seems reborn and stronger from the accident.

JKL5, a large scratchboard from 1948, features a highly abstracted vintage telephone over which a blackened screw-in light bulb hangs with seductively detailed filaments, many years before similar imagery entered Philip Guston’s or Jasper Johns’s visual lexicon. Refinement and balance is another concern which runs through the work. For example in Ornaments, the only existing print of her first, now lost, 1942 woodblock, the artist notes that her instructor encouraged her to “bite the shit out of the block” before ferreting for too much nuance. Her later torsos composed of multiple layers of window screening, however, appear to attain exactly that, through the subtle crosshatching within the industrial material, which mirrors various techniques and forms that the artist first mastered by hand.

Lenore Simon has had solo exhibitions at the La Jolla Athenaeum, San Diego, CA; The Earl and Birdie Taylor Public Library, San Diego, CA; Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ; and group shows at the San Diego Museum of Art; East County Center for the Performing Arts, San Diego, CA; and the Yokohama Invitational, a touring exhibition in Japan. Simon studied at Cooper Union School of Art, New York, NY.

Reinventing Ray Street with each and every show, Four Walls presents thoughtfully conceived exhibitions of local and international artists, which have increasingly garnered the positive attention of the San Diego Union-Tribune, Art Week, San Diego City Beat, El Latino, Riviera Magazine, and other publications.

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