Simon Garb

Artist Statement

I believe that space, whether it be real, fake, virtual, imagined, temporary, tangible or intangible, has a profound effect on how we are able to connect, and access one another as individuals. I am exploring how the dynamics and properties of different spaces and different types of space affect our ability to be vulnerable. When we open up and acknowledge out loud, how we feel and who we are we offer up ourselves, and the truth; both of which are incredibly valuable things. It all comes back to this primal desire for closeness to feel understood and recognized, which is where much of my work stems from. It is because of this, that much of my work is autobiographical and fragmented, using different forms of collage to tell stories about separation, isolation, sickness, and strength. When only a partial story is told, one is able to insert themselves into the work, rendering it a collective experience. A viewer is able to see themselves in the art.

I make work that varies greatly in terms of medium, form, and purpose. As someone whose practice centers around creating tangible artworks, I subscribe to the idea that process and the means by which a work is made, is significant to its function and meaning. When I hand-weave a blanket, it’s infused with my identity; animations tell a story of movement over time. I do this to give my work life, and an identity of its own, so that it’s able to be in conversation in the space, and that the viewer can feel close with the work. A painting has a personality to be known and reckoned with, as opposed to an image to be merely viewed as if it were a fashion model; the objects here are not objectified. Escapism is a throughline when telling a story that empathizes. When at the drawing board, those are the two most important things to get lost in: empathy and escape.

An unexpected and essential practice is artistic outreach. Studies have shown that due to how we’ve organised ourselves as a society, our generation is one of the lonliest in history. Parallel to my studio practice, I’ve had the incredible opportunity go with my peers at least once or twice a month to the local cancer center, and a senior inpatient center, to do nothing more than talk to the residents about themselves, and to find out about their lives and interests. These experiences have helped me better contextualize myself amongst others, and figure out what tools I have to access them. My understanding of these tools is what will make my overall work more bona fide and absolute.

At the end of the day, when I leave the public space and enter a space of creation, to make a weaving, a video, a painting, an environment, or any other form, my main goal is to tell one’s story, spatially, in some capacity, back to them.