Diane Simpson
To inaugurate the Borg-Warner Gallery of Chicago and Vicinity Art, the Museum of Contemporary Art has organized New Dimensions, a series of investigations by Chicago-area artists of the realms of space, surface, and time. The first exhibition in the series, New Dimensions: Volume and Space, is concerned with the third dimension in sculpture, while succeeding exhibitions will focus on the second dimension of surface in painting and the fourth dimension of space-time in conceptual works…. This first exhibition includes the work of six Chicagoans who work with sculpture mounted on the wall, often in conjunction with sculpture in the round…...

Diane Simpson's constructions waver between flatness and volume. Simpson's works explore isometric perspective, a system of drawing which renders objects in space through the use of oblique parallel lines, instead of convergent lines as in the central perspective of the Renaissance. Children and primitives use isometric perspective to depict objects in space; it is also the traditional system used in highly refined Eastern art. Simpson in effect builds isometric drawings in three-dimensional space, using parallel lines, asymmetrical orientation and lines that seem to extend endlessly. Simpson also often sketches isometric perspective on the flat surfaces of the constructions. By applying a two-dimensional system for representing space to a three-dimensional object, a curious flattening results. Those areas of the construction that are actually three-dimensional seem flat, while those areas
of the construction that are flat but have isometric drawing on them, seem volumetric.

Simpson's material, three-ply corrugated cardboard, provides textural variety in the corrugated edges and planes. As in Leaning Lookout, 1978, the artist accentuates texture by rubbing pencil or crayon across the surface or by stripping away the top layer of cardboard to reveal the ribbing underneath. The forms of Simpson's constructions, which refer to industrial buildings, machinery, and utilitarian objects from other cultures, retain vague references to the objects that inspired them….

The common aim of using the vertical orientation of the wall unites the work of this diverse group of artists. Concerns range from Margaret Wharton's use of the wall as a support to Mary Stoppert's and Diane Simpson's use of it as a field of specific dimensions. Garrick Dolberg installs his works on the wall because it alone will not detract from the formal characteristics of his work, and Dennis Kowalski and Michael Hurson display works at specific heights to achieve an interaction between viewer and work.

There is a range in these uses of the wall, a range congruent with the aims and means of the artists. The varying concerns can be found to a greater or lesser extent in the work of each artist, so that the wall becomes an element of many facets, many uses. Whether the intent is expressive or formal, each artist exploits the qualities of the wall to add scope to the explication of his or her personal concerns.

PAULINE A. SALIGA Assistant Curator