Susan Calloway Fine Arts Presents Maggie Siner The Language of Paintings

By Editorial Team on January 7, 2019
Maggie Sine, Kids at Dinner, Oil on linen, 2018, 30 x 22. Courtesy of Susan Calloway Fine Arts.
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Reception: Saturday, January 12 from 6pm to 8pm
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Artist Talk: Saturday, February 2 from 3pm to 4pm

This is Maggie Siner’s first exhibition at Calloway Fine Art and features a full range of her subjects and themes. Sumptuous table settings mingle amongst serene scenes of Venice, succulent fruits, whimsical tableaus, and vibrant French landscapes. The selected works are drawn from Siner’s newest body of work, produced both in Venice and the South of France, where she spends much of her year.

A quiet voice in contemporary art, Siner’s paintings are held in special esteem for their enduring qualities: a perfect sense of fleeting time, exquisite clarity of light, bold brushwork, fine tuning of color, delicately balanced structure, and the captured moment of absolute recognition. Her subject matter ranges from the intimate to the monumental, from the everyday to whimsical combinations of objects, with surprise, intelligence and a sensual mastery of traditional media.

Born in Providence, Rhode Island, Siner began her studies at the Art Students League of New York in 1968, graduated from Boston University (BFA) in 1973 and from American University (MFA) in 1976 where she studied under Robert D’Arista. She has lived for extended periods in France, Italy and China. Her work has been exhibited in galleries and museums for four decades and is in hundreds of collections around the world.

Siner’s work is classically derived yet contemporary; an almost abstract expressionist handling belies the strong underlying structure. Working exclusively from life, she is one of a small number of artists using direct visual perception to translate human experience into material form. Her years in China fostered the calligraphic quality of her brushwork, so active and yet so accurate, as it re-enacts the choreography of coming into being.

Siner is also a devoted teacher who has influenced a generation of painters. She has been on the faculty of l’Institute d’Universités Américaines and Lacoste School of Art in France (Cleveland Institute of Art), a visiting professor at Xiamen University in China, Artist-in-Residence at Savannah College of Art and Design, Dean of Faculty at the Washington Studio School and teaches workshops and master classes in the USA and abroad. She is a frequent guest artist and public speaker appreciated for her revealing lectures on art history and the internal workings of painting. She is currently compiling a book and video on the painter’s secret geometry.

In 1976 she moved to France, taught painting and art history at European university programs and exhibited in Aix-en-Provence, Paris and Marseilles. She also studied medicine at the Faculté de Médicine and frequently performed as a singer and musician. In the 1980’s she taught anatomy at Georgetown Medical School and completed facial reconstructions for law enforcement. She is well known for her expertise in artistic anatomy and human movement, evident in her figurative sculpture. In 1991 she visited and lectured in China’s six major art academies, and then taught several years at Xiamen University. Her visits to Italy have been numerous, both for the study of Italian painting and for her own work. Since 2008 she has been in Venice, enamored of that city’s ever-changing surfaces. Her work was most recently on view at the Katzen Center at American University as part of the D’Arista Legacy exhibition, presented by the Alper Initiative for Washington Art.

“I try to translate the eye’s fleeting perception of the world around me into the permanence of paint. This is not an imagined or photographic process, it is the actual way the eye catches light in the act, collecting colored shapes and sending them through the nervous system where the mind deciphers and reacts. This is seeing. To paint is to reenact; to choreograph inside the confines of a rectangular frame, to select and simplify from the complexity of stimuli until the lived experience is recreated. Anything may be subject matter. I think of Constable declaring he never saw an ugly thing in his life –“let the form of an object be what it may —light, shade and perspective will make it beautiful.” It’s all about the way color and shape, line and direction interact and create meaning. In the process, spaces between namable objects become more important than objects themselves. Nothing is invented, rather the goal is the truth of visual response. Painting taps the deepest and most considered resources of its maker, building a model of perception and a poetry of sight in a unique handwriting. With these thoughts I am poised between Cezanne’s petit sensation and the immediate touch of brushwork, finding grandeur perhaps in a fold of cloth, or an epic tale in unrelated objects placed together, while propelling a viewers eye on the same intrepid journey as my own.” – Maggie Siner

Gallery Hours:

  • Tuesday through Saturday: 10am to 6pm

Susan Calloway Fine Arts is located at 1643 Wisconsin Ave. NW.