In the Crenson Gallery
David Siever: Tiny Tragedies
National Juried Solo Show
April 6 - May 18, 2019
Opening Reception April 6, 3-6pm
Juror: Michael Gitlitz, Executive Director, Katonah Museum of Art
Artists Talk, May 18, 3-4pm
David Siever is a Brooklyn-based artist with a Master of Fine Arts in Ceramic Sculpture from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2017). In 2017, Siever served as as Artist in Residence at Arquetopia in Puebla. Mexico and at A.I. R. Vallauris in Vallauris, France. In 2018, he was a Visiting Artist at the Australian National University in Canberra where he taught and worked on a series of sculptures about the experiences of Australian and Aboriginal soldiers in First World War One utilizing the archives at the Australian War Memorial. His work was recently featured in Art.net as one of nine artists to watch at the Governor’s Island Art Fair. He has lectured on art and history both nationally and internationally. (More about David…)
Tiny Immortalities focuses on history’s “footnotes,” those protagonists who don’t get mentioned in archives. History is taught as the stories of heroes and heroic action. Yet who reveres or even remembers Martha Place, the first woman sent to the electric chair, or the sad husband cuckolded by a Civil War General, the hapless pianist whose hands were mutilated in battle or Chang, trying to read while his conjoined twin, Eng, had sex with his own wife? Barely remembered, all are subject to the inexorable march of time, as one day we, too, will be relegated to the margins. Although my narrative ceramic pieces involve considerable research, my intent is not to create dioramas, but to use the past to illuminate present societal conflicts. Eras combine to provide an intertextual perspective. Each room box contains a scene that is at once familiar, funny and horrible. As the model for all the figures, my work is colored by my visceral, emotional responses to the material. The “selfies” that accompany each piece will be part of the installation, along with the archival material that supports the pieces.
Like the lives they depict, the pieces are small; the figures’ lack of color shows them fading into obscurity. Created from unglazed ceramic, they are fragile; their survival is tenuous. They are the size of my childhood action figures that helped me create stories and imagine who I would become. Lying on the floor, I would enter their world, and they became the characters of my fantasies. Like their childhood counterparts, the sculptures have entered the domain of dreams, a place far distant from their origins. I see myself as a visual storyteller, part of a long tradition of narrative sculpture.