James Siena and PaceWildenstein Gallery/Provided
June 16, 2009Cornell University College of Architecture, Art, and Planning alumnus James Siena (B.F.A. '79) has been selected to receive the 2009-10 Eissner Artist of the Year Award, administered by the Cornell Council for the Arts (CCA).
Siena creates complex linear abstractions based on his own "visual algorithms," resulting in concentrated, vibrantly colored freehand geometric patterns. He works in a variety of media, including lithography, etching, painting, woodcut, drawing and engraving.
An exhibition of his work will be displayed at the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art from Jan. 16 to April 20, 2010. Siena will receive the award and give a lecture on campus April 16.
Siena's art is in many private and public collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, and Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
His work has been featured in more than 100 solo and group exhibitions since 1981. He was included in the 2004 Whitney Biennial, a showcase for contemporary American and international artists, and since 2005 has mounted three successful solo exhibitions at New York's PaceWildenstein Gallery.
"James Siena is one of the most inventive, independent, focused and prolific artists working today," wrote Patricia Phillips, chair of the Department of Art, in her letter of nomination. "Thirty years after he received his B.F.A. from Cornell, Siena has emerged as one of the art world's internationally respected leaders. … [He] balances the traditions of 20th–21st century abstraction with a maverick sensibility to craft salient, if speculative, insights on the contemporary world, and the intricate workings of human perception."
The annual alumni artist award winner is selected by a jury of arts department chairs at Cornell.
The CCA also announced the 2009-10 Cornell Undergraduate Artist Award winner, Dorian Bandy '10, and runner-up, Jessie Fair '09. The Undergraduate Artist Award, given to students of artistic merit, includes a presentation of the winning artist's work on campus.
By Dan Aloi