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Monday, June 28

Enter the Magical World of David Simpson, aka Dabu, at saki

Opening Friday July 2. 6-8pm
Hors d'oeuvres provided by Guerilla Smiles catering and 
cool beverages provided by Cellar Rat.

Chicago, IL  June 24, 2010saki, the new record store, art gallery and performance space in Chicago’s Logan Square neighborhood, is thrilled to present an expansive exhibition by noted Evanston artist David Simpson, aka Dabu. His multitude of fanciful, eclectic and whimsical pieces will appear for four weeks, from the opening on July 2nd to July 31st. Dabu employs a range of media from pencil drawings, to acrylic and watercolors, with all shapes, sizes and styles represented in this show. His signature use of vibrant colors and enchanting detail recall a sense of childlike wonder mingled with a professional essence that breathes pure talent. The elaborate, almost supernatural, scenes which Dabu creates allow the imagination to roam unfettered in a land that feels both fantastical and familiar, surreal and archetypal.
“...work that has a whimsy and style reminiscent of Marc Chagall.”—Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun Times

In my pictures, elves, jesters, devils, birds, insects and voyeurs all play in and peek into colorfully decorated Medieval, Arabic and Persian rooms with a story to tell. The stories come from the myth making part of my mind—the part of my mind that tries to explain what is beneath my feet or above and inside my head. These sometimes silly stories help me play out my joy, playfulness, humor, anger, and my sense of indignation toward injustice (social or political).
My art mother and father are Remedios Varo and Odilon Redon. They, along with my literary heroes Salman Rushdie, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Isaac Bashevis Singer and Nikolay Vassilyevitch Gogol, all inspire me to create. They inspire the perception of the power in me to see the world as if there is a magical presence in effect. If one looks between the lines of mere fact, this presence has the power to open up worlds of possibilities that on the surface look quite mundane or just too fantastical to be real or taken seriously. The alchemical, magical, cabalistic, surrealistic and fantastical themes that run through my work are akin to my artistic parents and literary heroes, but I do not hold too sternly to any particular artistic literary canon. These worlds and images are to be taken as portals to the many ways of looking at and through the world. 
Filtering the situations I find myself facing in the real world through the lens of the magical realism and surrealism has been crucial in recovering from my sense of paralysis and defeat after visual impairment took hold in my everyday life. I needed to feel that there was more to this world. What I once thought were the most important things that I just could not live without were being taken away from me. Riding my bike alone, driving a car, walking down a sidewalk without crashing into people, signs and flowerpots, running alone, my job, and my potential career as a graphic designer were all being thrown into doubt and being questioned. The result of that pain, and of its reanalysis through my artwork, caused me to see that I still had cause to be grateful. 
I still had enough eyesight to do my art; of course, I had to change the way I worked. My sense of limitations caused me to use the surface of my canvases as a study in expanding both the world where I was and the one inside my head. Looking at it magically gave me the feeling that I was now on an adventure into new, undiscovered worlds. The expression of surrealism helped me at times to juxtapose opposing thoughts and feelings to cast a different sort of light upon my situation and brought about new, previously invisible harmonies. Both helped me change and expand my perceptions. What could be more real and more magical than to find and kick up the sparks of the divine expanse within my illusions of devastation? 
Solo Shows: 
Gillock Gallery, April 2009 
Halsted Center, August 2009 
Jury Shows: 
ArtHouse 2007, January,2007 
Rubin's Room Gallery 2008 
Partsunknown Gallery: Death and Taxes, April, 2005 
Chicago Artist Coalition: Chicago Art Opening 2001 
Guild for the Blind and Visually Impaired: Passionate Focus 2002,2003,2005,2006,2007,2008,2009,2010 
Around the Coyote: Winterfest 2004, Fall 2004 
Gallery and Group Shows: 
Partsunknown Gallery, Death and Taxes, March 2005 
David Leonardis Gallery, Seven Scintillating Artists Show, March 2005 
David Leonaridis Gallery, Four Formidable Artists Show, February 2005 
Chicago Artists’ Collective (Charcoll), Death Show October 2004 
Chicago Artists’ Collective (Charcoll), Harvest Show September 2004 
Chicago Artists’ Collective (Charcoll), Carnival Show August 2004 
Chicago Artists’ Collective (Charcoll), God Show July 2004 
Gallery 9: “Calamity of Dust” March 2004 
Gallery 9: “Embraced and Rejected” December 2004 
Gallery 9: Grand Opening November 2003 
Johnsonese Gallery: “Arranged Marriages” 
Johnsonese Gallery: “Doppelganger” March 2004 
Jettsett Gallery: “911 Show” 2002 
Jettsett Gallery: “Summer Show” 2001 
Jettsett Gallery: “The Anniversary Show” 2001 
Jettsett Gallery:  “The Inside Out Show” 2001 
Jettsett Gallery: “The American Music Show 2002 
Jettsett Gallery: “Two Person Show” February 2001 
Jettsett Gallery: “Two Person Show” January 2000 
Neo Futurearium: “Guiles, Derivative and Cliché”, 1998 
Bookstore Gallery: “Solo” 1994 
Restaurant and Retail Exhibitions: 
Tsubu Salon, Hubbard Street 2007- 
XS Salon, Chicago Ave, Chicago, Illinois March-June 2005 
Penny’s Noodles, Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois June 2004 
Bloom3, Chicago Street, Evanston, Illinois May 2004 
Pandora’s Box Antiques, Irving Park Road, Chicago, Illinois June 2004 
“Simpson's vividly colored work tends to be in the representational narrative spectrum; abstracts are harder for the eye to process. He's transferred his love of storytelling to his paintings, and is inspired by the writing of Joseph Campbell and stories of the Jewish religion which he reinvents in his art.”Mary Houlihan, Chicago Sun Times
“David Simpson feels a sense of urgency about painting. He’s not sure how much longer he’ll be able to see his vividly colorful art, which is full of symbols and narrative elements.”Robert Loerzel, Evanston Review

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