James Siena: drawings and paintings
January 23 – March 15, 2003
San Francisco Art Institute
This first survey exhibition of the artist’s production spanning a twelve year period included twenty enamel paintings on aluminum and twenty-two works on paper from 1991 to 2003.
Siena’s intricate abstract paintings of repeating geometric forms are derived through sets of pictorial strategies, which he refers to as algorithms. The artist works from a personal lexicon of complex pictorial devices producing paintings that are often described as hypnotic or even mesmerizing. Siena’s algorithmic works reference mathematics and artificial intelligence, linguistics and visual semiotics, raising astute questions about the nature of abstraction and representation. In addition to the exhibition, Siena taught an intensive workshop with SFAI students who assisted him in executing two new site-specific, commissioned wall drawings in the Walter and McBean Galleries.