Theo Simpson shares his interests and research areas of his wider practice, specifically around the work he made for the Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020.

The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards supports artists to make new work and significantly develop their practice. The Awards particularly seek to encourage artists and photographers exploring new approaches to photography, and/or whose practice is experimental.

Theo Simpson and Silvia Rosi were selected from over 450 submissions in response to an open call to UK-based artists using photography and within 10 years of establishing their practice.

Theo Simpson

Living and working primarily in the North of England, Theo Simpson draws on his everyday environment, investigating how the typology of the landscape, technological innovation, history, and past political events help shape current and future events.

Rooted in the traditions of minimalism and abstraction, Simpson’s work Dark Interlude reimagines the natural and industrial landscape, offering new perspectives on land traditionally associated with industry. The past and the present are intertwined through the reworking of archival images highlighting key historical moments, including a protest against Britain joining the European Economic Community from 1971 and the miners’ strikes in 1984.

Angular lines or ‘fractures’ are present throughout the exhibition and could be read as a metaphor for a land divided; geographically, socially, economically and ideologically. The unknown space between the fractures is equally as important as the image itself, referring to the loss of understanding or truth.

Rather than forming an individually defined series Simpson’s practice is fluid, building a continuous and ongoing body of work over time which is edited to fit the exhibition space. Each piece is self-contained, made both by hand and by machine and incorporates photography, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking with engineering and industrial manufacturing techniques.

Simpson also references the interdependent relationship between man, machine, nature, and technology, citing the idea that ‘the things that man produces will one day be his enemy’ (Karl Marx, 1844). This is something which is particularly important at a time when human production, consumption, technology, and the environment are so heavily intertwined.

The Jerwood/Photoworks Awards 2020 is on show at Jerwood Arts until 7 March. 

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