I run the Kwan Fong Gallery at CLU in Thousand Oaks. I generally keep some separation between my own work and the work I do as a curator, but I think this particular show is so intriguing that I want to write about it here too. Duncan Simcoe is an artist working here in Southern California in one of the most exciting art scenes in the world. Los Angeles is jumping these days.
I love what Duncan does with his work; there’s a stark simplicity to the materials he uses, yet a depth to the images that is simultaneously challenging and moving. He’s concerned with suburban life and the challenge of searching for the divine in the course of our lives – the distance between us and God. The works are religious, but contemporary, and they work effectively to encourage our individual searches for the mystic Christ, always distant, and always personal.
In addition to his suburban works Duncan has made drawings in paint about the battle between the descendants of Abraham, using unexpected renderings of boxers, oil gushers, pigs and shopping carts as jarring images to bring his observation that the conflict is mythical in proportion. Perhaps surprisingly for such potentially controversial material the works don’t take a side in the contemporary struggle between Palestinians and Jews, they simply observe that this is an epic that has been happening for centuries.
I should add that I’ve posted some of this material onto the Art Blog on the CLU website.