Exhibitions at Johnson Museum feature work of alumni Siena and Jury

January 28, 2010

Cornell’s Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art is currently hosting exhibitions of two AAP art alumni. Sam Jury’s Forever Is Never is on display until March 28 while James Siena’s From the Studio is up until April 18.

Since graduating from Cornell with an M.F.A. in painting in 1998, Jury has predominantly worked with photography and video. Interested in the gaps and fissures between moving and still images, Jury explores how they mediate between reality and imagination. Forever Is Neveris about constructing, deconstructing, and manipulating the photographic image, and Jury creates animated portraits that are no one and everyone all at once. Reminiscent of the composite portraits created by Nancy Burson in the 1980s, Jury suspends the spectator between places and experiences remembered and imagined.

James Siena (B.F.A. ’79) is the 2009–10 recipient of the Eissner Artist of the Year Award from the Cornell Council for the Arts. Best known for densely patterned paintings, gouaches, and drawings that are based on self-imposed rules and systems, Siena’s work has been shown in over 100 solo and group shows including the 2004 Whitney Biennial. The exhibition not only includes paintings and drawings that Siena has not wanted to part with and works by contemporaries he has traded for and bought, such as Mark Lombardi, Alan Saret, and Charles Seliger. Examples from Siena’s collection of antique typewriters and calculating machines provide another glimpse into the way this artist’s mind works, while a series of in-progress sculptural pieces consisting of grape stems and hardwood trusses seems to be translations of Siena’s concerns into three dimensions.

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