Maggie Siner: The Non-conformity of True Art

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GIANFRANCO MUNEROTTO
Maggie Siner, with some regularity, has exhibited her paintings in Venetian galleries. An American artist, she has always divided her time and life between several countries: spending winters in Virginia, USA, and the rest of the year often between Provence and Venice.  Known in her country also for her teaching activities, with academic courses and workshops offered yearly in various States, she regularly shows her work in many American and London gallerie, and also has frequent exhibits in her two “second homelands”, Provence and Venice. [versione italiana]

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This statement of introduction about Maggie Siner is not, after all, anything unusual for a contemporary artist; so why do I call her a “non-conformist”?
 
Because she, in perfect unaffectedness, is one of an extremely scarce group of painters who embody the true essence of the definition of art: a “mastery of craft ” that creates something “physically unique” and that arouses profound instinctive admiration from observers.
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In an era populated by Biennials and amateurs, where self-defined artists spend precious pages demonstrating their deep intellectual concepts, often summarized in a few words in the heads of astonished and puzzled observers of these “works” , in their hearts already thinking the classic phrase “but any child could do that …” …
Well, in this world, the small group of artists of which she is one, Siner is not only unconventional but rightly “revolutionary” because she pushes the public to regain its own “right to judge” from which in recent decades it has been maliciously deprived by the Contemporary Art market .
 
We are not at all talking about pure manual dexterity, because in Maggie’s painting the larger concepts certainly exist, but so clearly as to be almost imperceptible, and can be summarized in three fundamental assumptions : impression, light, color.
We say, “Is not this the simple essence of painting?”  Of course, it is; but today it is often distorted or forgotten.
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Maggie Siner paints exclusively from life, or rather, “live” you should say, because she searches tirelessly – on the road or in the studio – the subject, the light or the position that delivers the right emotional experience, and then produces it with dazzling skill, through vigorous and brilliant brushwork, composition and architecture supported by a strong solid drawing, so as to present it recreated, emotionally engaging the beholder of her paintings. The end result is bright and airy, apparently instinctive, but arises precisely from the intellectual hard work and from a long history in the physical exercise of painting, as a serious professional has to do.  In fact, for example, her dynamic brushwork owes much to the internalization of ideographic writing, during her long stay in China.
But, as in the paintings of previous centuries, her art does seem like each painting is a result of a “magic moment” fresh and light…
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Like any professional, Siner can work in many techniques but prefers oil (on canvas), and also her subject matter follows many different threads.  The landscape is crucial in order to grasp quickly, in small works, the infinite colors of Venice or southern France, but there are also portraits and still life (and in this case it is more the British definition of still life) with her current works dedicated to laden tables and unmade beds, chosen precisely for possibilities offered by the color white.  Here then you measure the distance between her pictorial sensitivity and today’s common feeling: in fact Maggie smiles as an observer tries to imagine the emotional drama which guided the choice of a particular object that you see between the sheets, or what means a certain bottle or the number of cups on the table, while for her, of course, ” … there was need of that color in that particular place.”  But how much work and sweat to understand that we wanted exactly that color at that point, to create the perfect balance.
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To conclude, the works of Maggie Siner not only dazzle with color and optimism, but communicate a classic vigorous poetry; just that she does not write … but REALLY paints.
 The exhibit takes place at Hilton Molino Stucky “795 giudecca art gallery”.

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Gianfranco Munerotto

 

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