b.1964, New York, New York; lives and works in Los Angeles, California
Gary Simmons draws upon film, architecture, and American popular culture for his imagery. His method of working addresses issues of racial stereotypes, history, and memory. Simmons, who was born and raised in New York, developed his erasure technique shortly after graduating from Manhattan’s School of Visual Arts, where he studied sculpture. His first art studio was in a former New York vocational school, which had left behind rolling blackboards. The blackboards presented an opportunity for experimentation, and led to what he describes as his “erasure” drawings. Much of his defining work is executed in white chalk on slate-painted panels or walls, then smeared and smudged by the artist’s hands.
Working at Tamarind, he translated this method of drawing to lithography. The resulting prints build on the idea and meaning of erasure, with the commercial icons and cultural symbols he selected faintly dissolving, leaving a ghostly presence.
Simmons received his MFA from the California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, CA. His work is included in the permanent collections of the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, among others.