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david ebony's top ten

james siena at christinerose

Nov. 20, 1997 - Jan. 10, 1998  

Upside Down Devil (Second Version)

They Are People
   New York artist James Siena paints abstract works made of glossy enamel on small aluminum panels. They are jewel-like and seductive, but like all good paintings, they sustain a balance of gravity and buoyancy. Some look like Australian Aboriginal paintings, communicating a meditative trance. In his best works, Siena sets up a tension stemming from the interplay of surface and image. The surfaces appear to be wet, a condition often echoed by the fluid imagery. Flowing lines and endlessly repeated patterns of geometric figures and organic shapes seem to undulate across the surfaces of some works.

In Battery, hundreds of cell-like forms seem to scurry toward a center point. Upside Down Devil looks like a stop-action photo of an explosion. In They Are People, the artist uses tightly packed groups of parallel lines against a white ground to create a three-dimensional effect. The painting Twirly Four does just what the title suggests. Here, sets of overlapping and elongated diamond shapes appear to shift around the surface in a rhythmic and bouncing twirl.

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