"Her Hands are Wild and Dangerous"

Slete Gallery
11270 Washington Blvd, Culver City, CA 90230

I grew up in a political family. The art in my parent’s home reflected this interest. Posters of work
by Kathe Kollwitz and other artists engaged in political expression were on our walls.
My interest has always been in a magical narrative that is a lot less specific. However, after the
2016 elections, I have found myself in a different frame of mind. I couldn’t continue the
transparent lace dresses, flora and fauna. It felt like my personal garden of Eden had been
invaded and I had no choice but to step out. And really, it was about time.


I was searching for a stronger expression of my feelings in response to what had happened in
America. I shifted to an emphasis on pattern, color, brushstroke, and mark making. Moving into
an ongoing exploration of my personal experiences through more abstract means of expression.

 

On the heels of my show with almost abstract art, I became motivated by the “#metoo”
movement, and concerned myself in particular with the developments around the unveiling of
women’s repression. Letting go of shame around sexuality and nakedness, and by contrast
moving into the strength of girl power and womanhood. This led me right into the work for
FERAL in which I was inspired by a new sense of feminism, a place of wildness, unconcerned
with dictates of the fashion industry, the ideas of what a beautiful woman is supposed to look
like, the letting go of rules about body size and embrace of women of all color. The young girls
and women are stepping forward to be viewed in both their vulnerability and strength. They
have nothing to hide. They can be both soft and strong. They can be themselves.

continued below

For my show in NYC I moved back to more representational elements. The abstraction
interplays now with the animals and complete, but transparent bodies of the children. It is an
ongoing inquiry in the desire to transmit a sense of energy, a state of being and feeling into the
paintings.


We Are One follows the longing of my heart and the knowledge of my mind about the
interconnected web of all life on earth. The deeper we come into contact with this knowledge not
only abstractly, but with visceral experiencing, the more urgent need to be the actions we take
to protect that Oneness.


When I returned in the fall to my studio I suddenly felt like something new had shifted. I
started to depict young women again with transparent clothing, but they were clearly
contemporary, sporting tattoos, purses and their hands had become animals. “Her Hands are
Wild and dangerous” was the first painting for this show.


Something about this work feels like in these last 2 years I have come full circle -no pun
intended- I have have incorporated many of the new abstract markings of early 2017, the bodies
are clothed and back in lots of detail, their wardrobe contemporary with a ‘hip’ nod to the 60s
and 70s, the time in which I grew up. These young women and children look at the viewer with
confidence and possibly daring. You will not mess with them. They are both ‘woke’ and
mysterious.


In my work I try to be as honest and true to myself as I can without losing discernment. I aim as
best as I can for sincerity, intimacy and openness in my paintings. In them I find the beginning of
something that touches the universal. It is a place where others can touch the magic and
sensuality that gets exposed in the process.


I think deep inside of us lives a longing to experience a sense of 'falling in love'. A visceral
experience without words. For that to happen, this place needs to be free of irony. I am looking
in my work to find the point in which we feel a certain ache – the ache caused by the knowledge
that life is full of light and dark, sacred and profane, beauty and ugliness, life and death.

 

Anne Siems 2019

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