My work seeks to question the politics of identity and the way that it manifests itself within formal investigation.
I see identity as a dialectical relationship between the personal and the cultural. In this sense, signs such as the Jewish star, the Jerusalem cross, the Palestinian flag and the swastika hold both private and public meaning. They are both abstract and iconographic, acting as intersections for vectors of historical narrative.
The political territory that I am currently engaged with relates to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. While this issue acts as a nexus for cultural tensions between east and west, the relationship between Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and questions of exile, memory and borders - central to this issue are the failed utopian aims of both Zionism and Palestinian nationalism.
I am interested in the parallel between the utopianism of these nationalisms and the utopian ambitions of modernist abstraction. Movements such as the Bauhaus and the Russian avant-garde aspired to link the philosophical and religious essentialism of formalism with social change and political progress. But most often this work is reduced to aesthetic experience and commerce.
My work seeks to frame these histories and ask if there is any possibility left for political content in abstract form.
Artist Bio / CV
Noah Simblist is an artist and writer living in Dallas, TX. His work involves paintings, drawings, video, wall text and sound installations that explore the limits of symbolic meaning in political, religious and quasi-religious modernist iconography. Most recently these images have been placed in the context of texts, film and photos that deal with the political role of the artist, the concept of forgiveness, and the idea of home in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
He received his BA from Hampshire College in 1996 and his MFA from the University of Washington in 1999. He was a member of the artist cooperative, SOIL in Seattle, WA in the year 2000 where he curated the exhibition Abstraction/Construction. In 2001 he moved to New York where he lived and worked for 2 years. In 2003 he moved to Dallas to teach painting and drawing at Southern Methodist University. Recent curatorial work includes an exhibition called Collecting and Collectivity to be mounted at Conduit Gallery in Feb, 2008.
He has written for the zine The Red Headed Stepchild (Seattle), Glasstire.com and Artlies magazine (Texas) and Zerodegreesart.com (LA). Most recently he is co-editing an issue of Artlies about “Collectivism” with Michelle White, Assistant Curator at the Menil Collection.
He has exhibited at Garner Tullis in New York, the Urban Institute of Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Commerce Street Artist Warehouse in Houston, the 2007 Texas Biennial in Austin and The Dallas Contemporary, The Mckinney Avenue Contemporary, And/Or Gallery and Gray Matters Gallery in Dallas, and Cactus Bra gallery in San Antonio.