Rose B. Simpson Draws on Her Indigenous Background and Pueblo Architecture for an Exhibition in Philadelphia
Northcentral New Mexico is a long way from Philadelphia—literally and figuratively. But the latter is where 39-year-old, Santa Clara Pueblo–based artist Rose B. Simpson spent the last two years (albeit often virtually), in a residency at the Fabric Workshop and Museum. And it was a productive two years: A ceramicist, Simpson’s residency enabled her to experiment with other mediums and dimensions, which has resulted in “Dream House,” her quartet of room-size installations at the FWM that combine clay, textile, and video with her ongoing interests in Pueblo architecture, her Indigenous background, and magical realism. “Normally sculpting figures, having the opportunity to invest my practice into an architectural space was so much more intimate and personal,” Simpson recalls.
Indeed, the structures are reminiscent of the simple adobe houses Simpson grew up around, and she filled them with items she made, such as recreated furniture that was originally designed by her grandparents, videos of her footsteps as she traverses ancestral lands, clay masks representing family, and quilts symbolizing strength in comfort, which Simpson learned after becoming a single mother six years ago. The last of the four rooms is the most immersive: It’s where visitors are invited to sit and reflect, once they follow Simpson’s hand-painted sign saying, “shoes off.”
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