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Gina Siepel
updated: 10/28/2013
website: http://www.ginasiepel.com/
 
   
 
 
     
 
Artwork Title
art-medium
art-year
dimensions
Click thumbnails for full view:
 
Hudsonian Godwit Study 8.8.11
Hudsonian Godwit 8.9.11
Hudsonian Godwit 8.25.11
Yellow Headed Blackbird 6.26.11
Baltimore Oriole 7.18.11
Noddy Tern 6.15.11
Yellow Warbler 1.6.30.11
Yellow Warbler 2.6.30.11
Yellow Warbler 3.6.30.11
Wood Pewee 6.7.11
Wood Pewee 8.3.11
 
 
Portfolio Keywords:  animals, historical, nature, process, science, still life, conceptual
 
 
Hudsonian Godwit Study 8.8.11 by Gina Siepel
Hudsonian Godwit Study 8.8.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  42" 
Hudsonian Godwit 8.9.11 by Gina Siepel
Hudsonian Godwit 8.9.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  21" 
Hudsonian Godwit 8.25.11 by Gina Siepel
Hudsonian Godwit 8.25.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  42" 
Yellow Headed Blackbird 6.26.11 by Gina Siepel
Yellow Headed Blackbird 6.26.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  42" 
Baltimore Oriole 7.18.11 by Gina Siepel
Baltimore Oriole 7.18.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  10" 
Noddy Tern 6.15.11 by Gina Siepel
Noddy Tern 6.15.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  42" 
Yellow Warbler 1.6.30.11 by Gina Siepel
Yellow Warbler 1.6.30.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  10" 
Yellow Warbler 2.6.30.11 by Gina Siepel
Yellow Warbler 2.6.30.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  42" 
Yellow Warbler 3.6.30.11 by Gina Siepel
Yellow Warbler 3.6.30.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  42" 
Wood Pewee 6.7.11 by Gina Siepel
Wood Pewee 6.7.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  10" 
Wood Pewee 8.3.11 by Gina Siepel
Wood Pewee 8.3.11
Graphite on Paper
2011
15" x  10" 

Artist Statement
In the popular imagination, John James Audubon is revered as a naturalist, and renowned as America’s “foremost painter of birds.” Audubon was also an avid hunter and skilled taxidermist, and amassed a huge collection of bird specimens over the course of his lifetime. The Beneski Museum of Natural History at Amherst College holds a collection of thirty-five of these birds. Working on site at the museum, I am currently engaged in a slow process of re-drawing Audubon’s birds, from painstaking observation, almost two hundred years after his seminal paintings were made. Once beautiful living birds in a much wilder North America, these tiny fragile creatures are now faded and falling apart, their battered feathers, twisted feet, and misshapen bodies are delicate, fragile, and preserved in deadly arsenic. My desire is to see these mysterious birds in a straightforward manner, to see them as separate from and in counterpoint to Audubon’s romantic legacy.

In this work I relate closely to Audubon's practice of intense, rigorous observation of nature. I emphasize and honor the process of drawing - its demands, its slow pace, its way of revealing the nuances of a particular bird gradually, in layers, in a gradual accretion of revisions and corrections on the paper. However my works diverge from Audubon’s in a conceptually significant way: Audubon drew birds to advance an idealized understanding of a species, while in my drawings I aim to simply observe an individual specimen, focusing on specifics and including imperfections.

As much as I am attracted to Audubon’s achievements and legacy, it is difficult for me to understand his prototypical nineteenth century approach to learning, categorizing, and collecting. I love the spirit of optimism it originated from - Yes we CAN know the world! But I am disturbed by its attitude of dominion over nature, its assumption of superiority, even of stewardship. It is my ambivalence about this period, and its scientific paradigm, in combination with my fascination and sense of romance for these tattered but still wondrous specimens, that draws me to Audubon’s birds.

Artist Bio / CV
EDUCATION
    
2008     MFA Studio Arts, Maine College of Art, Portland, ME
1996     BFA Painting, SUNY Purchase, Purchase NY
2008     Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME
2002-6 New York Studio School, NYC

EXHIBITIONS AND SPECIAL PROJECTS


2011    “CACOPHONY,” in Sea Worthy, Flux Factory, NYC

2010    Solo Exhibition: Currents6, Annual Emerging Artist Series. Curated by Elizabeth Finch, Colby Museum of Art, Colby College, Waterville, ME
    
Beyond Purview,  New Art Center, Newton MA
    
The Echo as an Original Sound, With Christopher Carroll. FiveSevenDelle Project Space, Boston, MA
    
Float: Buoyant Things, a Sinking Feeling: An Evening of Short Videos. Curated by Caitlin Berrigan. PROGRAM, Berlin, Germany

2009     Content/Community. Curated by Liz. Geller. FiveSevenDelle Project Space, Boston MA

Emma’s Walk, An Anti-Versary Event, Labor Day 2009. NYC

Historic Interpretation: Artists Interpret the Historic Collection, Peabody Historical Society, Peabody MA

Domestica, Eel Space, Chicago, IL

2008    The New Constructionists, SPACE Gallery, Portland, ME
    
Maine College of Art MFA Thesis Exhibition, ICA at MECA, Portland, ME

2007    Boy Mechanic’s Boat Launch at Walden Pond, Concord, MA.
    

FELLOWSHIPS, AWARDS, HONORS    
2010    Puffin Foundation Ltd. Artist Grant

Berkshire Taconic Foundation, Artist’s Resource Trust Grant

2008    Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture: Zorach/Bingham Fellowship

2006    Puppet Lab, St. Ann’s Warehouse, Brooklyn, NY

2005    Studio Fellowship, Center For Furniture Craftsmanship, Rockport, ME


PUBLICATIONS
2011    Art New England, “Gina Siepel: Currents6” by Carl Little, Jan/Feb 2011
 
2010    MetroWest Daily News “New Art Center Exhibit Challenges Viewers’ Perceptions,” by Chris Bergeron, Oct. 3

Colby Echo, “Maine Artist Explores Kennebec Region, nostalgia,” by Esther King, Nov. 3, 2010

2009    Acousmatic Theater Hour, WFMU, hosted by Karinne Keithley and Jason G. “Emma Goldman Labor Day Spectacular” (radio profile)

Journal of American Craft, “Native Funk and Flash (Part Two),” by Allison Smith