James Siena (American, b.1957) is a New York-based artist whose works are examples of Abstract Impressionism. His specialty is a unique form of brilliantly colored nonobjective paintings known as visual algorithms. His famous pieces are created using asymmetrical patterns that lead to paintings that resemble floating diagrams on the wall. Siena was born in Oceanside, CA. He studied art at Cornell University in Ithaca, NY, and received his BFA in 1979.
His other outstanding achievements include receiving the Edward Durrell Stone Award in 1977, the Charles Goodwin Sands Medal in 1979, and the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in 2000. He specifically cites his school art instructor, Mary Croston, as a major influence on his artistic success. He also mentions Peter Kahn (American, 1921–1997), whom he refers to as an iconic Renaissance man, as one of his mentors while he was studying art at Cornell University. He attributes the inspiration for his Abstract paintings to the field of artificial intelligence. His labyrinth patterns have a logical base that can be used to investigate the imaginary space used by artificial intelligence programmers. Siena is also a renowned performance artist who made an appearance in the Dangerous Film Club television series in 1987.
Siena had his first major solo museum exhibition at the San Francisco Art Institute Gallery in 2003. His notable works include The Risk of Existence,which was exhibited in 1998 at the Phyllis Kind Gallery in New York, Wall Paper , which was exhibited in the same year at the Nicholas Davies Gallery in New York, and The Tipping Point , which was first displayed in 2002 at the Locks Gallery in Philadelphia. His work has also been featured in group exhibitions, including the Whitney Biennial at the Whitney Museum of American Art. His major paintings have been reviewed in leading publications such as The New York Times, ARTnews, and The San Francisco Chronicle. Siena lives with his wife and son in New York, NY, in an apartment located close to his large studio.