July Exhibit: Yvette Siegel
Recollections of memories slowly build in truth as we age, but we still never get the full story. Our understanding may become clearer as we mature but we lose pieces of those memories as we age. In this collection, I try to piece together what I have learned from my childhood/teen years, and what I know now.
As we moved around, my childhood homes were always decorated with hints of Japanese artwork; it was my father’s favorite place that he visited in his lifetime. Because of his admiration, I am extremely drawn to this culture, and I have always wanted to visit this region myself. Before he passed away in 2008, I had not thought to ask him more about his adventures in Japan, thinking that I would hear about them throughout my own lifetime. Since I am now unable to ask him about his first-hand experiences with this beautiful country, I must try to piece together what I remember from his stories in order to feel satisfaction.
When trying to recall his descriptions, I have found that I have forgotten many parts to his stories as I have aged. The once colorful imagery has faded into the depths of my mind. So, I made it a mission to manifest the rest of these stories through listening to family conversations about my father.
Through this, I have discovered something about my childhood experience as a whole. I had not gotten the same experiences that my siblings did when it came to knowing who my father was. I have looked for answers in my family members as they spoke of him, but it seems like they all have completely different stories from what I remember to be the truth. Being the youngest of four, I suppose I had been extremely sheltered. I had a different ideology of him than everyone else. He was my hero, but I am slowly finding out who he was in everyone else’s eyes.
As I grow older, I am gaining more versions of the truth, but it is almost impossible to know who someone was through assembling others’ memories besides your own, unless that person is still around.
Through my paintings, I try to deal with the frustration of having multiple truths, and attempt to piece them together like a puzzle. I use multiple layers representing my own juvenile and adult perceptions, and the findings that I have gathered from family sources to make a clear, yet broken picture. The final result of each painting attempts to achieve peace with all of the memories of my father. Japanese influences have a strong presence in each piece as homage to my father.
The city frequently offers chance encounters with spaces that are unapologetically true to the life they have lived. These kinds of happenstances prove to be the most meaningful for me. Aesthetically, the wearing down of layers, progressions of mark making, and fortuitous color relationships, serve as a constant source of inspiration. Conceptually, the inviting nature of dilapidated barriers and the physical representation of a specific timeline, an implied history, becomes intriguing.
In the act of painting landscapes that do not project a forced image, I do not try to replicate the subject through material, I reveal the subject. My paintings use a broad range of materials in an investigation of both shallow and deep space, suggestions of human interaction, and ways of constructing an environment. Often I am challenging the function of elements, such as doors and windows, as passages into a space of liberation. In doing so, I am also posing questions about societal values. What are the expectations for communal presentation as well as personal presentation and in what ways does the urban landscape engage with these ideals?