Abstract painting’s vitality is celebrated in the work of Claire Seidl and Kim Uchiyama, both recently invited to join American Abstract Artists. Both artists investigate the process of perception. Plain Sight suggests clarity and openness, but at the same time makes us wonder what we’ll discover upon closer inspection. We are asked to suspend judgment and allow these works to unfold in their own time. How we see and what we perceive is inextricable from our own experience. By noting the rhythm and interval of color, light and gesture in their work, we come to experience the art as the artist did when creating it.
While viewing Seidl’s paintings, one can imagine external and internal influences affecting the outcome. Her titles can serve as portals into both a private world and one with which we are all familiar. In The Swing of Things, an active narrative is visible and palpable through a loosening and dissolution of geometric drawing. Its surface initially confronts and challenges, and then invites the viewer to meander through. In Merrily Merrily as the title suggests, there is an immediate sense of sunny, summer days in nature but also a strong, insistent composition. Seidl’s willingness to imply internal, emotional dialogues feel tangible in the painting, In A Heartbeat.
In Seidl’s recent work on canvas and on mylar, as Karen Wilkin in her catalogue essay “Claire Seidl; Paintings Photographs” has written,”…previous states and underlying incidents are often veiled, like distant recollections or like things seen briefly and now largely forgotten…pictorial events can remain more or less visible through the layers of paint on canvas.”
Seidl’s photographs, mostly taken at night, are both familiar and strange. Seidl has said, “Some people see my photos as abstractions, but they are also deeply rooted in the real world; they are filled with specifics of place and people and natural phenomena. But there are images in the photos that only the camera can reveal: what we can’t see in the dark with our own eyes; what we can’t hold in sight after we shift our gaze. The camera accumulates what happens over time (seconds, minutes, hours) in a single two-dimensional place, the photograph. The photographs remind us not of memories but of memory itself. They speak of time passing and of mystery”.
Claire Seidl lives and works in New York City and in Rangeley, Maine. She has had thirty one-person shows and has exhibited in over one hundred group shows in the United States, Europe and Asia. In November, her work will be on exhibit for two years at the U.S. Embassy Residence in Qatar. Recent shows include: After Hours, Red Filter Gallery, Lambertville, NJ (2014); Vis-à-vis (with Emily Berger), The Painting Center, New York City (2014); Whereabouts, Aucocisco Gallery, Portland, Maine (2014); What Was, Is: Recent Work (with Duncan Hewitt), Center for Maine Contemporary Art, Rockport, Maine (2013); Paintings 1988 – 2012, Icon Contemporary Art, Brunswick, Maine (2012). Her work has been reviewed in The New York Times, The New York Observer, The Brooklyn Rail, Art In America, Art News, Arts Magazine, Art Examiner and Partisan Review. Seidl’s work is represented in numerous public, corporate and private collections.
Kim Uchiyama’s painting has been described as “classical abstraction” because “it underscores a commitment to compositional order…. In person, interesting things happen when the classical concerns of symmetry, proportion, and simplicity are matched with the freedom of abstract painting.” (James Panero, The New Criterion, October 2010). Uchiyama’s color bands convey a sense of musical composition with their timbre, texture and mysterious weight. The sturdy colors vibrate and hover on the picture plane, producing a compelling experience that evokes memory and feeling. “Everything in my work originates from a sense of place. Light and color in my paintings are not arbitrary decisions. Instead, they are the organic result of something that I have experienced, seen, felt.”
Uchiyama’s paintings evoke the anarchic trailblazing of the old west one moment, and the placidity of a timeless horizon the next, while conveying a musician’s sense of theme and construction. In Light Study #26 for example, her palette changes create a visual and aural experience that recedes and then emerges. Uchiyama is “interested in juxtaposing hues that convey the true character of light, meaning both its psychology and its mystery.” (Stephanie Buhmann, Girl Band Exhibition Catalog Essay, 2014)
In the paintings Origin, Site, Element and Mythos, one can sense an “unearthing” – a scraping back of layers of both paint and time. “The creation of an image is comprised of multiple layers of experience and history…emotion and psychology filtered by… imagination; the distillation of time and space into the essential form which remains.” Uchiyama’s paintings – vital, powerful and complex – ultimately find their place within the space of our consciousness through a process of endless dedication.
Kim Uchiyama lives and works in New York City. Recent solo exhibitions include Headwater Contemporary, Telluride, Colorado (2013), John Davis Gallery, Hudson, NY (2013), Kathryn Markel Fine Arts, Bridgehampton, NY (2012) and Lohin Geduld Gallery, New York, NY (2010). Prior solo exhibitions include Janet Kurnatowski Gallery, Brooklyn, Penine Hart Gallery, New York, John Davis Gallery, New York and Leslie Cecil Gallery, New York. In the past five years, she has participated in group exhibitions that include Jason McCoy Gallery, Muhlenberg College’s Martin Art Gallery, 490 Atlantic Gallery, Sideshow and Hofstra University’s Rosenberg Gallery. Starting October 16th, Uchiyama’s work will be on exhibit for two months in Freak Flag at Brian Morris Midtown. Her work has been reviewed in Art News, The New Criterion, The Brooklyn Rail, The New York Sun and The New York Times. Uchiyama’s work is represented in numerous public, corporate and private collections, including that of the late Edward R. Broida.