My art seeks to express visually a fascination with stories steeped in the bizarre, the erotic and the fantastic. Stories are told through an eclectic collection of clues; - fictional objects, artifacts and curiosities, cause the narrative to hover between the real and the imaginary. By meticulous planning, these richly detailed photographic tableaux are devised to invite the viewer to at first question, and then piece together the whole story for themselves.
In this latest body of work; ' The Bumforth Manor Collection ' I present a collection of photographs as though recently discovered in the attic of an imagined, long-deceased relative.
I have borrowed heavily from the Victorians using cues and objects seemingly from that era. The resulting images highlight a shared obsession with the unusual and the obscure, the dark and the inexplicable, creating stories that exploit ironic notions of colonialism, pomp, and the impact of the industrial revolution.
click on image for an enlargement, price, size and medium.
The Bumforth Manor Collection consists of a series of archival prints inspired by a mythical story concerning a quantity of glass photographic plates discovered in an old oak chest on the Bumforth Manor estate in rural England, the family home of the Gascoigne-Simpson's for over nine generations. These plates, which had lay gathering dust for over a hundred years, were supposedly the work of Simpson’s great grandfather, Samuel Heracles Gascoigne-Simpson, a disciple of William Henry Fox Talbot, commonly considered to be the father of photography. To bring this story to life, Simpson starts by building a set, authentically styled and dressed to re-create the Victorian photographic salons of the late 1900s. This becomes the stage upon which he places his eclectic choice of models and actors, all following his original tight narrative to create a richly detailed tableau. The scene is then captured in a single sitting using an original 1867 'Petzval' lens mounted on a mahogany plate camera. Hand painting, scratching and distressing the plates adds a patina, further adding to the illusion of historical provenance. These highly detailed visual narratives of the bizarre and often erotic nature of Simpson’s sepia-toned obsessions are finally revealed as a limited edition archival print. Nick Simpson previously worked as a commercial photographer and creative director, before embarking upon a full time career as an artist in 2011. He has exhibited extensively in the UK, but this will be his first exhibition in the U.S.A