Each of the drawings in Pastoral Emergency is rendered through Simonetti's distinctive, highly-detailed red pen technique, including one of the artist's "doom paintings" -- a series of works that feature complex multi-layered scenes populated by dozens of figures across a landscape, densely packed with symbolic images and actions.
Central to the show is a series of new drawings, each of which are titled "Hearth." Taking its root from the Latin word "focus," in early photography "hearth" meant the burning point on the lens; the hot point of convergence between the made-image and the visual world. Later, "hearth" was adopted to describe the central zone of heat in a house. The phrase "hearth and home" came to represent the convergence of family values and domestic life -- warm and protected within residential walls. In Simonetti's new series, isolated figures and objects are collapsed nearly to their threshold, leaving dark cavities in negative space. In addition to the Hearth series, the eponymous drawing "Pastoral Emergency" is a continuation of Simonetti's Dooms series, which cull the iconography of Last Judgement paintings (a historical genre referred to as "Doom paintings"). Again, Simonetti is drawn to the use of coded imagery as a tool to disseminate moral narratives. In the world of Simonetti's drawings, reality and violence are officiated by fantasy. The response to crisis is not engagement and mediation, but further withdrawal into magical thinking.