Collections > UNC Chapel Hill Undergraduate Honors Theses Collection > Fragmented and Varied: The Black Woman in Lorna Simpson's Early Work

“What I’ve tried to do with the photo work is create contradictions—an edge between the subject and the interpretation about how a ‘subject’ is viewed or contextualized… I prefer gaps and contradictions so that not all the viewer’s questions are answered.” - Lorna Simpson. As her words indicate, Lorna Simpson creates artwork that evades a singular interpreta-tion. In order to make artwork that refuses definitive interpretations, Simpson employs a formal element that is a visual reflection of the mindset with which she approaches the world. As she professed in the same interview the quote above originated from, Simpson views the world around her not through one ideological framework but with the understanding that through fragmentation, the act of disassembling and reconstructing, the fallacies and contradictions that many societal frameworks are built upon can be revealed. The artist’s ability to create contradictory and compelling works can be seen in her consistent use of fragmentation. I have taken Simpson’s notion of fragmentation, a simple descriptor of how she views the world and creates art, and morphed it from being a nebulous concept of her artistic practice into a two-part definition that describes its usage in her work. The fragmentation, in all its various forms, is a crucial formal element in accomplishing Simpsons’ mission of creating work that inspires questions more than they answer them and is also emblematic of her broader artistic practice.