Artist Rose B. Simpson's powerful work featured at the Princeton University Art Museum
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Artist Rose B. Simpson's powerful work featured at the Princeton University Art Museum
Rose B. Simpson (Tewa Pueblo, born 1983, Santa Clara Pueblo, NM; active Santa Clara Pueblo), Tusked I, 2019. Ceramic, leather and beads; 97.8 × 35.6 × 24.1 cm. Collection of Steve Corkin and Dan Maddalena. © Rose B. Simpson / courtesy of the artist and Jessica Silverman, San Francisco / photo: John Wilson White.

PRINCETON, NJ.- A selection of sculptural figures by the mixed-media artist Rose B. Simpson invites visitors to reflect on the fundamental aspects of being human. Witness / Rose B. Simpson will be on view July 23 through Sept. 11, 2022 at the Princeton University Art Museum’s Art@Bainbridge gallery.

“Simpson’s materially and texturally rich sculptures invite us into dialogue, seeking an empathetic response that can pull us out of ourselves,” said James Steward, Nancy A. Nasher–David J. Haemisegger, Class of 1976, Director. “They look back at us, demanding introspection and acknowledgment of our actions.”

Simpson’s work interrogates the human condition as an accumulation of lived experiences, distilling specific aspects of such moments in her own life into each sculpture. Through her work, Simpson seeks the tools to heal the damages she has experienced as a human being—issues such as objectification, stereotyping and the disempowering detachment of our creative selves through modern technology.

Simpson holds a master of fine arts in ceramics from the Rhode Island School of Design and a master of fine arts in creative nonfiction from the Institute of American Indian Arts, Santa Fe. She is based in Santa Clara Pueblo, New Mexico.

The exhibition is curated by Bryan R. Just, the Princeton University Art Museum’s Peter Jay Sharp, Class of 1952, curator and lecturer in the art of the ancient Americas.

“When viewing my work, I want visitors to find parts of themselves that may not be easily accessed or that our common culture has not fostered in them,” said Simpson. “I want them to release their stereotypes and their judgments and begin to see their objectification so that they can start to access with a different emotional lens.”

Simpson’s sculptures will be exhibited at Art@Bainbridge, in what was a home built in 1766, during the early American colonial period. According to Simpson, “I want my works to go into the hardest of places; they’re intended to infiltrate. And those pieces are watching the viewers. Witnessing happens both ways. Viewers might be looking at the sculpture, but that work is also watching them. That’s very intentional.”

On Aug. 11, the Museum will host a moderated discussion related to a short reading that explores themes developed in Witness / Rose B. Simpson related to Indigenous storytelling. The session, led by Curator of Academic Programs Janna Israel, will include a viewing of the exhibition. Space is limited and reservations are required.

Art@Bainbridge is made possible through the generous support of the Virginia and Bagley Wright, Class of 1946, Program Fund for Modern and Contemporary Art; the Kathleen C. Sherrerd Program Fund for American Art; Joshua R. Slocum, Class of 1998, and Sara Slocum; Barbara and Gerald Essig; and Rachelle Belfer Malkin, Class of 1986, and Anthony E. Malkin. Additional support is provided by Sueyun and Gene Locks, Class of 1959; the Humanities Council; and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Initiative at Princeton (NAISIP).

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