Born in Paris on the 14th of December 1961, Patricia SIMSA started her artistic career with sculptur, and after that painting. She participated to a lot of exhibitions through Europe.
Humour, sensuality, heat of the colors, fluidity of her generous characters’ movements, these are the hand of this unique artist.
Art should be entitled occasionally to a period of relaxation. When the need for it arises, it puts on its spectacles with deforming lenses, it makes use of filters that intensify the colours, it squints in order to bring about kaleidoscopic effects and to see around the corners and it rejects all utter appearances and archaic conventions.
Simsa’s art seems to enjoy a perpetual holiday and it invites us to participate in its witty extravagances. For humour and high spirits – implying the good-natured perception, not devoid of a keen perspicacity, of the human condition – are part of her creative powers in the fields both of the art of painting and the indirect expression of a philosophical approach to everyday life. When she invites us into the very orderly homes she paints, she wants to surprise, and possibly to frighten us by seating us next to a ‘Panther chest of drawers’ which, like the leopard fur coat of yesterday’s ladies has lost its paws but retained the beautiful pattern of its spots. Her arm-chairs, on the other hand, are covered with zebra-striped cloth. But there is nothing wild about Simsa: she organizes her living quarters and her paintings with the same meticulous care: the rug on the floor is brightly chequered and it is represented in a vertical position as a backdrop in complete contempt of the laws of perspective – the way she also treats her rendering of threedimensional volumes. Yet, all the shapes and all the colours match perfectly and are in unison, as if they were parts of a chromatic orchestra in which each instrument developed freely its own personality, while contributing to the common harmony. Simsa’s canvases seem to emit a kind of softly hummed refrain.
When Simsa paints human figures – mainly female – she first sets them up in a multicoloured but subtly homogeneous décor. Then she starts concentrating on their physical features and attitudes, in such a way that their character and their thoughts or intentions are clearly revealed. Her technique is akin to the caricaturist’s: she may exaggerate some traits, but she never distorts them to the point of making them ridiculous.
Simsa’s favourite subjects are women and more specifically the woman. The woman isolated in the intimacy of her unaffected poses and occupations, which enables the peeping toms we all are to read, or at least, to imagine her thoughts; the woman as a member of a group mostly limited to two, the second one being a kindred soul whose personal revelations the ears of the spying toms we all are would like to capture. So, on the one hand, we get the image of the lone woman sitting demurely in a rigid expectant posture, looking slightly ill at ease but at the same time trying to hide her uncertainty under an air of indifference; the naïve one who has no idea of what destiny might have in store for her; the one who is taking a bath or rather washing herself in an old-fashioned shallow circular basin, broadly gesturing with arms and legs as if she were sending signals from the deck of a war vessel. Could she be a repressed exhibitionist or a purposeful temptress: two perfectly shaped breasts seem to look the viewer of the painting right in the eyes and the lady obviously enjoys projecting the lower part of her back invitingly as far as possible into space Another one, hardly less enticing, ought to pay greater attention to her undergarments while she squats in a relaxed reading position: can she really be unaware of the white triangle of her panty that shows under her skirt, as she has pulled her legs up under her body – or does she knowingly adopt a faked unconsciousness? Whatever: Simsa gives us in total frankness and sincerity her personal image of what Goethe called in much more solemn terms ‘woman’s eternal femininity’. When two women meet, gossiping is obviously an intense occupation. They enjoy sipping at a delicate, high-stemmed glass of greenish liqueur which, we may be sure, will add colour and flavour to their confessions and wild expectations. If it so happens – only in a few cases –that a man is present, they engage in a game of cards during which the lady will invariably draw an ace of hearts which she meaningfully pushes under the man’s nose. This might be called a form of seduction.
Simsa provides her personages with heart-shaped or protruding cuplike lips, like the honey-sucking rostrum of some insect. The situations in which she shows them are either scenes she has witnessed or situations she draws from her imagination. But thanks to her mastery of technique which is much better than simply descriptive, her power of staging events and her skilful and sensitive use of colour, she succeeds in actually drawing us into her own little.
world and to make us adopt it without any restriction
We feel good in the different types of atmosphere Simsa evokes: we are relaxed but also intrigued, we enjoy watching and analysing the idiosyncrasies of her characters, but we also experience a certain degree of shame by intruding into closed intimate situations, we agree with her interpretations of man’s and woman’s attitudes, but we also feel some awkwardness at being her accomplice. Simas knows the trick of eliciting a certain degree of excitement at the view of images to which she knows that we might hypocritically object: she cannot in all innocence paint ‘la petite culotte’(tiny panty) which a seated woman displays and which is painted on a canvas measuring 116 by 89 centimetres… But Simsa cleverly integrates it into a totally innocuous environment in bright colours. She favours passionate flaming reds, various shades of soft blues that go so well with soft browns, dark backgrounds that provide discreet nooks or greens and yellowx that create the impression of volume, and all the warm nuances that engender a feeling of well-being.
The small pieces of sculpture Simsa models in clay refer to the same category of women as the portraits of isolated women she paints seated in a chair. They do not give us access to their environment or to any private disclosures. They complaisantly bear being looked at and they seem to watch us with equal curiosity or interest. They sometimes try to adopt the ‘natural pose’ we are expected to assume whenever a picture is taken: we inevitably succeed only in grinning rather sheepishly or in demonstrating a kind of bored indifference. Most of her models have bulgy eyes and the typical Sima protruding lips that give them the air of ingénues. Yet some others look surprised or arrogant or they make an attempt at being sexy and adopt adequately calculated postures. The boys are slightly less demonstrative: they keep their hands in their pockets and wait passively for what comes next. Both boys and girls are young and easy going: they stand on the threshold of life and expect to be accepted and adopted in the typical nondescript and conventional clothes of their generation. Elegance is not their primary aim and only seldom does a girl show some audacity by discarding the top of her bikini, to her personal surprise. They are all eminently likeable in their genuine simplicity and we wouldn’t mind living among them, all the less because they display one more quality of Simsa’s work: her unadulterated sincerity, her inoffensive irony, her smiling complicity and her benign vision of the most important half of humanity – the female one.