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Michael Larry Simpson

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Michael Larry Simpson

Artist Statement


My process is to make small color paintings on panels and then combine them to create life-sized compositions. I begin by intuitively “coloring” the individual panels to explore my fascination with the aesthetic, emotional and cultural powers of color in its limitless variations of hue, saturation and lightness. I am a physical mark maker and work exclusively on the hard surface of wood, staining, burnishing, dyeing, drawing and layering colors with oil, dye, stain, latex and other media to explore a spectrum of texture and finish.  I then combine multiple panels to create color relationship compositions.   


I’ve focused on linear-shaped compositions for the past two decades.  When hung vertically the pieces are life-sized and encourage one-to-one interaction. When hung horizontally they offer a more distanced horizon view.  With these new compositions, I’m pushing out the edges of the rectangular work to provide both views simultaneously. I’m adding panels to create complex geometric shapes that offer more complex color relationships and compositions.


The shapes are hard-edged and stepped, right angles rule, accentuated by dark frames that outline each piece to read as part of the composition, not just as a framing device.   The panels within are stacked, layered, sometimes resembling building blocks, sometimes machine parts, sometimes iconic shapes.  As an artist, musician and professional in the fine perfume space,  I have a high awareness and interest with how individual “notes” of color, music and scent can blend to create harmony, discord, stillness, movement, familiarity, surprise, easy reflection and provocative contemplation.  I compose my individual panels with these dynamics in mind to move the eye within and around the work.  My aim is to evoke visceral reaction and encourage metaphorical contemplation in dynamic, on-going discourse with the viewer.

Michael Lawrence Simpson studied Art and Art History at the College of William and Mary and continued his art education in at The Art Students League and School of Visual Arts as he pursued a professional career in international perfumery in New York, Amsterdam and London. Simpson and his wife, Ellen, relocated to Hillsdale NY after raising their family in Ridgewood NJ, and opened a studio/gallery in Hudson NY that shows his work alongside other emerging and mid-career artists from the Hudson Valley. He cofounded and manages OK Fine Fragrances, an innovative indie fragrance brand and is also a multi-instrumentalist performing Bluegrass, Blues and Oldtime regularly in the Hudson Valley.

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