Diane Simpson and Lesley Vance at Herald St

Sweeping brushstrokes lie swan-like in swathes of white, lilac, deep green and navy blue. By contrast, neat folds of MDF call to mind large-scale origami objects, their surfaces mimicking a selection of materials such as tweed, raw wood and technical drawing paper. Lesley Vance and Diane Simpson aren’t an expected paring, but at Herald St they work wonders together.

LA-based painter Lesley Vance uses a powerful colour palette that calls to mind the sunny hues of her current residence, each tone appearing to be applied in its concentrated state. The paintings themselves have a weight to them, formed on linen, they are an unapologetically joyful exploration of paint, line and form. The works are created by photographing natural shapes, these photographs becoming the starting point for paintings. The paint is usually then worked over darkened backgrounds, leading to an intensity of colour that is occasionally broken up by the visible brushstrokes of wet paint on wet paint.

Where Vance’s works take their cue from the natural world, Simpson’s sculptures appear to have originated from the world of geometry and design. Working in Chicago, these works reflect not the sun drenched landscape, but the glass-laden architecture of this American city, the clean lines of functional objects and cutting edge–literally, there are a lot of sharp edges here–fashion. This isn’t totally futuristic though, it’s a softening of the future, where industrial meets homely, part-spaceship, part-Muji. The materials add to this sense of domesticity, with woods, metals and fabrics working alongside one another.

When broken down, both artists have an incredibly strong sense of form and design, which in their own ways reflect the American cities that they have chosen as their base; one natural, one man-made.

Diane Simpson | Lesley Vance is showing at Herald St until 31 January 2016

Lesley Vance Untitled 2015 Oil on linen 86.4 x 66 x 2.5 cm / 34 x 26 x 1 in, Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and Herald St, London. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen
Lesley Vance Untitled 2015 Oil on linen 86.4 x 66 x 2.5 cm / 43 x 26 x 1 in. Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and Herald St, London. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen
Lesley Vance Untitled 2015 Oil on linen 61 x 43.2 x 2.5 cm / 24 x 17 x 1 in. Courtesy David Kordansky Gallery, Los Angeles and Herald St, London. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen
Diane Simpson Two Collars 2008 Enamel, LDF wood, wool crepe 83.8 x 157.4 x 16.5 cm / 33 x 62 x 6.5 in. Courtesy Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago and Herald St, London
Diane Simpson Peplum III (tweed) 2014 MDF, oil stain, spunbond polyester, gessoed linen canvas, coloured pencil, crayon 106.6 x 48.2 x 27.9 cm / 42 x 19 x 11 in. Courtesy Corbett vs Dempsey, Chicago and Herald St, London
Installation view Herald St, London
Installation view Herald St, London

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