Shadowland at the Redpath
In these works, Simms faithfully represents the shadows cast by the skulls and bones of endangered animals. Working with specimens from the vast collections at the American Museum of Natural History in New York (NY), the Canadian Museum of Nature in Ottawa (Ontario), and here, at the Redpath Museum in Montreal, Simms’s drawings explore concepts of absence, empathy, and loss. These ghostly drawings suggest disappearance, both of individual animals and of their species.
Time expands in these drawings: months of forensic attention are devoted to the process of transforming traced outlines into luminous grey tones. The subtle sense of movement created by these transparent overlapping shadows conjures the spirit, or ghost, of each animal. This haunting evocation of a once living animal encourages feelings of reverence, empathy, and kinship.
About the artist:
Lorraine Simms has exhibited her work across Canada and in the United States over a career that spans more than 30 years. Drawings from Shadowland have been widely exhibited, including at the Canadian Museum of Nature (Ottawa), the Beaty Museum of Biodiversity (Vancouver), and the Illingworth Kerr Gallery (Calgary). Simms is the recipient of numerous grants from the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec and the Canada Council for the Arts. Lorraine Simms is based in Tiohtiá:ke/Montreal.
Grus americana, CMNMA # 5567 (Whooping Crane skull), 2023
Graphite on acid-free paper / Graphite sur papier sans-acide
76.2 x 56.8 (30” x 22 3/8”)