7445 N. Campbell Chicago, IL 60645                773.458.3150                [email protected]

Deborah Simon




Simon saw her first Indian Flying Fox (Pteropus giganteus) in Calcutta while lying on the lawn of the Victoria Memorial at sunset. She had been watching the crows and the Pariah kites circle overhead, but as it got darker she started seeing something else... Flying silently over her with five to six foot wingspans were the largest bats on earth. In the lamplight were about forty huge bats eating from the trees. They were amazing - silent with huge eyes and furry bodies that truly resembling foxes and gigantic leathery wings. She watched them eat and then fly off, quickly disappearing into the dark. From that moment Simon wanted to sculpt the bats and capture the variety of behaviors that took place on that tree - to recreate the wonder and the shift in perception she experienced looking up at these incredible animals.

How nature is presented, exhibited and viewed is something Simon focuses on not only through her own art, but also through her work at the Bronx Zoo's Exhibition department. She spends her days creating the illusion of the natural world in what are essentially white boxes, by covering the walls in murals, sculpting fake trees, and hanging fake vines. For her, the zoo is no different from a gallery. Simon strips away the artifice and shows the white cube for what it is. She is particularly interested in the new sculptures because they must be seen from a different point of view; namely upside down. Redirecting how the viewer experiences the gallery space is half the battle. The other half is presenting the blur between her memory of these obscure creatures, and the presentation of them as art.