We arrive at Michael Simpson’s gallery in Somerset and outside is an old classic Citroen. The type that looks a little futuristic for its age and also the first of its kind to have hydraulics that lift the car as it starts. Michael’s studio is in an Old Gas Works, a fitting place for his large paintings. Michael met us at the door, dressed in his casual paint clothes and a pair of modest round glasses. As we enter the old Gas Works halls we are struck by the size of Michael’s paintings, mostly depicting different ladders or steps which lead to a Leper’s Squint, a hole that was often put in the sides of buildings such as churches, for people with Leprosy to be able to watch a sermon without infecting others. As Leprosy is also called Hansen’s disease I personally think we should call it a Hansen’s Squint or a Hansen’s Hole – but then again that may be confused with something completely different!!!
The office also had a platform above with a bed, a more contemporary office space with lots of books, a Mac and a sit down fireplace areas with a coffee table. ‘The perfect studio for any artist’ I thought, and that was before he opened up the back door which lead too a walled garden with lots of green plants. The sun was bright and warm and with its tropical plants it left me with the feeling of being in Cuba again. How could a space provide you with so much?
I also love Michael’s work. Something that is seemingly simple, yet carries a lot of meaning, precision, and is visually stunning. This was a great artist to be introduced to and a great pleasure to work with.