Screen Projects: J. Eric Simpson

A still frame from video, Bow by J. Eric Simpson. An oil driller sits in a field.

J. Eric Simpson, Bow (still), 2019. Digital video. Courtesy of the artist.


February 26–March 31, 2018


Artist List

J. Eric Simpson


J. Eric Simpson grew up in the conservative region of West Texas, which has influenced his artistic practice greatly—one that focuses on the intersection of philosophy, religion and consumerism. Exploring these ideologies and how they relate to American culture, he considers how they shape human behavior. In his artistic practice, he utilizes sculptural props related to these ideologies as well as his own body in performances, videos and installations. In Bow, Simpson splits the screen between himself and a working oil well—one of thousands that dot the West Texas landscape. The two move slowly, each bowing toward the one other in turn. The steady pace of the industrial oil well with its rhythmic metallic hum juxtaposed with the simplistic yet loaded movement of Simpson’s body immediately raises questions and thoughts about our utter dependence on oil, and the religious-like faith that some have in fossil fuels, even as the planet deteriorates on a daily basis. Bow is directly in line with what Simpson describes his work to be: “a space to actively resist the system from within.”

Since 2013 J. Eric Simpson has staged six solo exhibitions where he cross-pollinates his interests in the Protestant religion, monoculture crop production, and consumer capitalism in the United States. Recent and upcoming exhibitions include Transition and Transform at James Gallery, Hamilton ON (2018), Incident Report No. 102, Hudson NY (2017), Co-Modify at Indigo Gallery, Buffalo NY (2017), Amid/In WNY Epilogue, at Hallwalls gallery, Buffalo NY (2017), and The Measure of All Things at The University at Buffalo (2016). He received his BFA at Texas Tech University in 2013 and his MFA from the University at Buffalo in 2017. He is currently working on a cotton farm in the high plains of west Texas.