As demonstrated by her latest exhibition, Simpson is specifically influenced by science and scientific developments, especially the relationship between science and our perception of ourselves as humans. When asked which artists she finds particularly influential, Simpson rattles off numerous individuals who work in a variety of media, such as data visualiser David McCandless; expressive painters like Max Gimblett and Judy Millar; sculptors like Louise Bourgeois; video artists like Jed Town, Greta Anderson, Bruce Nauman; photographers like Ann Shelton and Nan Golden; as well as installation artists like Yayoi Kusama. However, her favourite artist at the moment is Roland Flexner, a French artist based in New York City. Manipulating ink and graphite – such as blowing ink bubbles onto paper through a specially made straw to drop instant circular artworks, Simpson primarily loves how Flexner is a “master of his medium – but part of that mastery is allowing the material to behave in its own uncontrolled way”.
While not formally trained in the visual arts, Simpson holds a BA in History and has attended several art courses in New York and Auckland, and was most recently a participant in the AMP year-long mentoring programme hosted at CEAC and led by Anne-Sophie Adelys and Andrew Tolhurst. Her range of media is not limited to painting, having created several video projects in the past including the interactive work Subduction at ARTSPACE in Auckland. This was a submersive interactive experience where users played a midi keyboard which triggered projected video and audio. At one end of the keyboard the video samples were all natural, while at the other the samples were all based on technology. This work was also produced as a video and was included in the 1998 NZ Film Festival in the Moving Image Centre Short Cuts programme.
Screen shot of layered video projection, Subduction