Simon Birch


simon birch

Words by Oliver Monaghan

Nothing is stationary. In every cell and organism there is movement. In every creature, every animal upon this mass of shifting rock there is movement. The earth itself is in orbit of a moving sun, which is set amongst a galaxy that is constantly expanding. Movement is fundamental. It is a bountiful source of endless inspiration. And for Simon Birch movement is his muse. And while his work investigates movement in relation to corporeal kinesis, it’s fair to say that it is a matter that has always played a large part in Birch’s life.

Coming from humble beginnings, birch was born in Brighton, England in 1969 and began experimenting with the painted medium for which he is renowned at a tender age. In his teens birch fled his hometown in the shadow of his parents divorce. Setting off on an adventure around the world while making ends meet through working as a DJ and promoter for various clubs. In 1997 Birch arrived in Hong Kong, working his days in construction on the Tsing Ma Bridge while honing his skills as an artist in his spare time. For five years he struggled to sell his work, but, as with anything that’s worth doing, persistence was key and he has since exhibited in solo and group shows across the globe. Rising through the ranks of the international art market on raw talent alone, to win prizes such as the Sovereign Prize Manfred Schoeni Award in 2004 and the Louis Vuitton Asian Art Prize in 2007.

Exhilaratingly high octane, Birch’s abstract expressionistic painting style captures his subject’s states of emotional transcendence with striking precision. Working panels of contrasting colour across the canvas with brush and pallet knife to create portraiture that not only depicts the body in motion, but ultimately encapsulates the very essence of his sitters. His is a mode of expression that truly demands its viewer’s attention, grabbing them by the crook of the neck and unleashing upon them an unabashed passion for life.