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Hunter Simmons

Study of a Torso
30 1/2″ x 18″ x 10 1/2″

Self-Portrait in Social Isolation, 2020
Pastel, charcoal, acrylic, ink, rubbing alcohol on cardboard
40″ x 44 1/4″

12 Figures (The Space Between Us, 2020)
6′ x 12′ x 18′

Acting as ruminations on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, my work negotiates the interpersonal tension of social distancing, the psychological torment of social isolation, and the physical deterioration brought on by the disease itself. By observing abrupt societal changes and confronting traumatic personal experiences from throughout the past year, these pieces visually capture a palpable sense of existential dread. Beginning as attentive studies of the human figure, my artistic practice revolves around creating initial frameworks—being either compelling steel forms or well-developed sketches—to then intensely distort through subsequent applications and manipulations of material. Through this cathartic process, my works exude a viscerally compelling harshness that becomes directly confrontational with the viewer.

The means by which I investigate the societal and personal ramifications of COVID-19 include a drawing executed on cardboard and a multitude of steel sculptures. A Self-Portrait in Social Isolation, 2020 is a drawing that captures the psychological turmoil I continually endured during a week in social isolation. 12 Figures (The Space Between Us, 2020-) is an installation consisting of 12 different steel sculptures, each spaced 6 feet apart from one another, acting as substitutes for the human presence. Study of a Torso is a singular steel sculpture that negotiates the physical suffering I experienced after contracting COVID-19.