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24th April 2017

York College is pleased to present an exhibition by former Art Foundation Diploma student and York based artist Joy Simpson.  'The Structure of Things' combines abstract and figurative visual languages, relying on imagination and invention to compose an image, and runs from 24th April - 25th May 2017 in the York College Gallery.


The image is often sketched out quickly, sometimes with pen on paper, sometimes digitally with a computer. When it comes to painting the canvas, changes are made to the original design, as the process of painting takes over. The paintings take influence from contemporary painting, as well as folk art and design practices.  Joy incorporates representations of nature into abstract language through colour, form and invention. She also sues the theme of machinery in her work, as can be seen in the painting Structured Sensation and in Four Painting Machines. These give the artist an opportunity to be playful with composition and contain visual jokes.

Says Joy: “Once I went in to a James Turrell Skyspace and I felt my mind elevated from everyday worries and concerns. I made up a shape to symbolise experiences like this, experiences that are somehow transcendent. I call this particular shape a 'Pinched Ellipse'. These symbolic motifs are what I put into my paintings. They are motifs by which, through painting, I question the structures of life. What they mean to the viewer may be something different.” 


Colours are used liberally and geometric shapes and lines are employed throughout the compositions giving a flat, static quality to the work, however in some places the compositions look like collage and emphasise her interest in the handmade.  The oil pastel pieces are made quickly, each colour and form responding directly to the colour and form previously drawn. They are furthering her enquiry into composition and are almost childlike in exploration.  She says: “I feel at this point in my practice I want to make some 'uncool' pieces of work. Work, that is perhaps a bit 'naff' but in itself is moving things forward and giving a new enthusiasm to what can be the stagnant air of contemporary painting”.

Joy Simpson completed the Foundation Diploma in Art and Design at York College in 2003 before progressing to study Fine Art at Northumbria University.

Recent Exhibitions

2017, The Structure of Things, York College Gallery
2014, New Artworks by Jenny Eden and Joy Simpson, York, East Street Arts
2013, Trans Form, City Screen, York
2009, The Light Box, New Blood Gallery, London
2009, York Open Studios
2008, Punctum, Northumbria University,
2005, Sakaida Art Grand Prix, Japan
2005, SPEAK, London


2009-2010, Graduate Studios, Northumbria University, Newcastle


2008, John Crisp Memorial Painting Prize


2008, BA (Hons) Fine Art, Northumbria University
2006, Exchange programme, Ohio State University, USA
2003, Art Foundation Diploma (Post Level 3), York College


Related Link

Art and Design Foundation Diploma Post Level 3

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