Joseph Walantini - 2001
Artist Profile: Abstract Art Online:
Seidl has been exhibiting her art since the mid 1970's.
Her paintings and drawings have been included in numerous
exhibitions as well as being represented in many public
collections. Her most recent exhibition was at Rosenberg
+ Kaufman Fine Art this past spring and was reviewed in
encountering the paintings of Claire Seidl, two things draw
your interest. First, the masterful way in which they are
created; i.e., the application and layering of paint and
color. Each piece manages to get it just right, the marvelous
combination of control and spontaneity. Next, their often
somber demeanor, which immediately recalls the paintings
of Albert Pinkham-Ryder and John Singer-Sargent. It’s
as though Seidl has managed to lift an essence of mood from
these artists’ paintings without the baggage of referential
subject matter. Because of these qualities, the work effectively
becomes seductive in drawing your interest. A good
part of Seidl’s approach has to do with respectivefully
making use of the tradition of painting along with tapping
into the rich vein of art history.
acknowledged the obvious, these paintings are about a great
deal more than an update of 19th and 20th century romantic
painting. Despite the atter references, Seidl is a confirmed
abstractionist and these paintings are quite forward in
exploring other venues as well. Look at the manner in which
she dodges back and forth between pure abstraction while
hinting at figurative references. This work seems
in perfect balance and goes well beyond the notion of a
‘little of this then a little of that’. In fact,
so seamless is the combination that you easily dispense
with recognizing one or the other. This opens up the work
to wider interpretation while expanding its subject matter.
matter in these paintings is personalized and yet general
in such a way as to make them accessible. There is a strong
sense of 'place' contained within them that seems to conjure
up familiar landscapes for us. The beautiful thing about
this is that the specifics are not important; we don't know
(or need to know) to where they refer. Part and parcel of
the experience is the dream-like sensibility they evoke.
Implicit in all the glorious painterliness is a sublime
hint of surrealism. From this perspective these paintings
seem to represent images of a formless collective memory;
something we can all tap into without putting a name to
it. Seidl may be painting her dreams but they can be our
dreams too, because the subject matter feels so common.
this work is romantically moody, tinged with surrealism
and magnificently painted. But what do the paintings add
up to? What of the content?
with how they were created. Notice how each painting clearly
holds its own as a unique personality even as they all hang
together stylistically. There is absolutely nothing serialized
about this work and so, true style is evident. Like many
great modernist painters, Seidl begins each piece as a journey
where the destination and getting there are of equal importance.
Each painting documents its own experience of creation and
you see in them varying measures of hard work, joy, struggle,
spontaneity, order and even playfulness. All of this is
available for the viewer to soak up, this richly woven tapestry
of paint and imagery that extends beyond even the artist's
capacity to explain them. In short, once completed, whatever
th artist may say about them is but one voice, equally among
any number of interpretations. A large part of Seidl's content
is simply (or not so simply) to evoke the puzzling mystery
and power of painting. This begins to explain the strong,
art historical associations in work that is nevertheles
aspect of the content is found in combining pure abstraction
with hints of figurative references. What is impressive
is how undemocratical this is applied throughout the work.
You are aware of the figuration more in some paintings than
in others. There is also another interesting aspect: the
dual approach the artist takes in handling form. At first
you are mostly aware of the activity: the quality of the
paint and the motion it implies. But then, if you step back
for a more generalized look, you notice what you perceive
in the big picture. Its like discovering another painting
when you see how the forms interact with each other.
the end, this is work that is perhaps best enjoyed for its
aesthetic value. Claire Seidl has magically woven an appreciation
and knowledge of the history of painting with her unique,
contemporary view. Like all great paintings, these pieces
require a significant amount of quality time to appreciate.
But the experience is more than rewarding and further distinguishes
this artist for creating engaging work in a world dominated
by instant gratification.
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