EYEWITNESS: COREEN SIMPSON AND CHUCK STEWART
Award-winning photographers Coreen Simpson and Chuck Stewart are eyewitnesses to many historical moments of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The illustrious careers of Simpson and Stewart have roots in photojournalism. Initially, Stewart was a military photographer who documented early tests of the nuclear bomb, and retains an archive of early images of famous and emerging political leaders and heads of state. Simpson covered political dignitaries, cultural icons, musicians, athletes and special events in New York, the Middle East, Africa and Europe in her early years. Later, as fine art photographers, Stewart and Simpson established their respective careers in representational camerawork.
Stewart is best known for his portraits and improvisational shots of jazz musicians that initiated in New York in the 1950s, including John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Judy Garland, Billie Holiday, Quincy Jones, Machito, Max Roach, Frank Sinatra, as well as James Brown, The Beatles, and countless others. His files of nearly one million images include more than 2,000 album covers and liner pages for leading and niche record labels, and his works are in the collection of the Jazz Archives of the Smithsonian Institution.
Simpson was prominently situated on the cusp of the acceptance of photography as a fine art medium in the late 1970s and 1980s, along with star photographers like Robert Maplethorpe. She is known for her conceptual gelatin silver print series, “Aboutface”, that reflect her fascination with the human face and makes a clear statement about her mastery of composition and geometry. Her portraiture includes luminaries such as Eartha Kitt, Nina Simone, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Toni Morrison, to name a few.
Simpson and Stewart successfully integrate formal elements with their own personal style, and each brings a spirit of improvisation, experimentation and even playfulness, without losing sight of the demands and hard work involved. You, the viewer, are invited to enjoy the diversity of approach while also discovering the common threads of the works of these two eyewitnesses.
Debra Vanderburg Spencer, Guest Curator
EYEWITNESS: COREEN SIMPSON AND CHUCK STEWART is made possible by:
The Interchurch Center and the Committee on Ecumenical, Interfaith and Community Concerns, and the Art Exhibit Panel.
Paula M. Mayo, President/Executive Director
The Interchurch Center
475 Riverside Drive, Suite 240
New York, NY 10115-0240
Artist Featured in Exhibition
Coreen Simpson's illustrious career began as a photojournalist covering political dignitaries, cultural icons, musicians, athletes and special events in New York, the Middle East, Africa and Europe.
My work is primarily driven by the art of self-adornment, presentation and identity. Style projects power and aura. Many empower themselves through adornment in a world that may limit them in other ways. Some choose never to reveal their true identities, adorning a mask of deception. This is the challenge that motivates and drives my work. - Coreen Simpson
Artist Featured in Exhibition
I was born in Henrietta, TX and raised in Tuscon, AZ. My mother's 13th birthday gift to me was a 616 Box Brownie camera. That year, the famed mezzo-soprano Marian Anderson visited my school; I not only documemted the event but sold my photographs to students and teachers for $2.00 each - a great financial leap from my $.25 weekly allowance. My professional career had been born.