Gary Simmons is an American painter and sculptor who studied at the BFA School of Visual Arts, and the California Institute of the Arts. He considers himself primarily a sculptor and is known for his works that illustrate experiences with both class and race. Famous for his ‘erasure’ paintings, his work is shaped by popular culture and personal experiences. These drawings, which are either murals or on panels, are executed with white chalk. He then spreads them with his hands to give them a representative, spectral effect.
One of his large-scale erasure wall drawings, ‘Split Personality’ was the centrepiece of an exhibition at Metro Pictures Gallery in London alongside other semi-erased black-on-black drawings of locations inspired by horror films set in the 1970s.
His work also represents symbols of oppression such as flowing knots, hoods, nooses and other signs used by the Ku Klux Klan. Through his sculpture he is also preoccupied with the concept of ‘white trash’ and its parallels with urban black communities. His paintings, drawings and sculptures are exhibited in many galleries around the world including the Simon Lee Gallery and the Metro Pictures Gallery in London and New York respectively as well as the Margo Leavin Gallery in Los Angeles, the Anthony Meier Fine Arts in San Francisco and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago.