David William Simpson (American, born 1928)
Red Violet to Green, n.d.
Polymer on canvas 24 5/8 in. x 146 in. (62.55 cm x 370.84 cm)
Crocker Art Museum Purchase1968.7
Throughout his career, David Simpson has persistently avoided identification with artistic movements ranging from Minimalism to Hard-Edge through Op Art and Color Field. Yet certainly, as adjectives, all apply to the painting Red Violet to Green. It belongs to the series Rainbows, which highlights Simpson’s adoption of polymer and acrylic paints. These spread flatly and offered such saturations of color that new explorations of color relationships beckoned. Before Simpson came to this series, it is important to consider him as a product of Southern California, the land of hotrods with pinstripe and flame details. Simpson brought north with him the Los Angeles taste for bright colors and graphic line. 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. 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.