James Siena (b. 1957, Oceanside, California) is a New York based artist whose complex, rule-based linear abstractions have situated him firmly within the trajectory of modern American art. His artwork is driven by self-imposed predetermined sets of rules, or “visual algorithms,” which find their end-result in intensely concentrated, vibrantly-colored, freehand geometric patterns. Siena works across a diverse range of media, including lithography, etching, woodcut, engraving, drawing, and painting.
His work is held in numerous prestigious public and private collections across the U.S., including the Hammer Museum, University of California, Los Angeles; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum, Wisconsin; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven, among others.
Pace Gallery is pleased to present an exhibition of all new paintings by James Siena, marking the gallery’s sixth solo exhibition by the artist since joining the gallery in 2004. The exhibition will debut Siena’s first works using acrylic paint on large format canvases, all created in 2018. James Siena: Painting will be on view from January 11 to February 9, 2019 at 537 West 24th Street, with an opening reception for the artist held on Thursday, January 10 from 6 – 8 pm. A catalogue will be published to accompany the exhibition with an essay by American poet, artist, and art critic Marjorie Welish.
The scale and medium of the new paintings mark a significant departure from Siena’s more intimate and intricate enamel on aluminum paintings, which the artist has been known for since the 1990s. The use of acrylic paint and stretched canvas as the support have introduced new levels of painterliness, physicality, and immediacy to his practice. Drawing together approximately 10 paintings ranging in size from 36” x 48” to 70” x 90”, the new pieces have evolved away from the object-ness quality of Siena’s earlier work yet maintain a consistency with his long-held focus on personal geometries and rule-based abstraction.
Best known for his unique process of creating complexly dense geometric abstractions, Siena’s practice is driven by predetermined, self-imposed sets of rules or “visual algorithms”. Since the 1990s, Siena’s use of enamel sign painting on aluminum supports has fostered a powerful precision and stark vibrancy within his work. The current exhibition reveals the artist breaking beyond those boundaries and exploring a parallel world of possibility, invention and clarity.
"James Siena’s attention to detail coupled with his intensity of focus has lifted his repetitive acts into a celebration of meaninglessness, shot through with rapturous pleasure. His paintings and drawings have become a maze of marks that he seems in no hurry to escape. They are odes to anonymous labor."—John Yau, Hyperallergic James Siena: Painting, on view through February 9 at 537 West 24th Street, was reviewed in Hyperallergic this week. Written by John Yau, the article highlights two ma
2019. Pace Gallery. Paperback
44 pages: 18 color illustrations; 12 ¼ inches x 9 ½ inches