In 1991 I moved from Berlin, Germany to Seattle after finishing my MFA at the Hochschule der Kunste Berlin. While in Berlin I had a large studio and worked on large –scale, room filling drawings of semi-abstract organic shapes.
In Seattle, I had a small desk and a little bit of wall space. I started working on waxed found paper (mostly newsprint and paper bags) using pen, ink and acrylic paint. The imagery became more precise. Multiple delicate images overlapped in a sketch like manner, with usually one large central form dominating the final composition.
These forms were inspired by illustrations from medical and botanical books, which in the process of drawing and painting, became transformed, as well as the made up Latinate text accompanying them.
In 1995, I felt complete with this body of work. I wanted the imagery to have a more painterly quality. Botanical, organic imagery remained along with an additional vocabulary of forms – birds, butterflies, garlands, draperies, small landscapes, faces and dresses. I worked first on a series of free floating wreaths, garlands and birds which eventually condensed and clustered to take on the shape of a dress or tunic .
Later, three dimensional, transparent garments floated in front of a backdrop of birds, flowers and text. Eventually, faces attached themselves to these garments or floated freely, surrounded by flora and fauna.
In 2001, I started working on panels. This was without beeswax for the first time. Painting on a firm, smooth surface (which the waxed, stitched together paper didn’t provide) allowed for much more precision and detail. The photograph of a young friend started a year-long series of portraits. Mostly she is seated in front of a backdrop of dripping paint. Her garment is painted in the same watery, slightly translucent manner. Her face, hands and the objects she holds or that surround her (flowers, insects, etc.) are painted very precisely.
At present, I continue with my interest in the human figure and the attributes that surround it. These attributes reflect something about the being without giving a specific narrative. Ideas about life and death, sensuality, sexuality, nature, experiences in the realm of dreams, psyche and spirit are my ongoing topic. A lot of inspiration for these pieces stem from my ongoing love for the art of the European Masters, Early American Folk Art, as well as vintage and modern photography.
Copyright ©Anne Siems