Digital Exhibition: Keith Simpson “Cars”

Collection of Ceramic Automobiles Explores the Mythology of the Car as an Imperfect Symbol of Youth, Freedom, and the American Dream.

Some of our earliest childhood memories involve automobiles—rides with the family, toy cars and trucks on the floor, perhaps a first experience with public transportation. We begin to build associations with autos well before we take the wheel ourselves. In Keith Simpson: CARS, the first-ever digital drop from Fort Makers (the NYC-based concept store, design studio and gallery), artist and professor Keith Simpson channels the nostalgia for vintage auto design. He evokes sensations of home and freedom, comfort and escape, play and professionalism. Through a fleet of 20 ceramic sculptures, Simpson stares at America’s obsession with the automobile and how we’ve bound cars to youth culture and the dream of escape. These aren’t toy cars, but they’re playful. And in many ways, they’re relics of what they represent.

The models referenced in the clay vehicles—some from Simpson’s memories, the others era-appropriate approximations—have been thumbed and pinched into quasi-familiar ceramic forms that are larger than a model or toy car, but smaller than a bust. They also occasionally imply subtle micro-narratives, as with a small wad of haphazardly placed clay resembling two lovers sitting on the bench seat of a 1969 Dodge Dart. As impressionistic idols of the artist’s youth, the works are, as with human memory, both imprecise and hyper-specific.