New Exhibition! "Elements of Peace"
(Posted on July 24, 2012) September 20, 2012 through December 9, 2012
Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery
Mankind's universal and elusive quest for peace is the inspiration for the visionary artist Marlene Siff in her new exhibition, "Elements of Peace," on view from Thursday, September 20, 2012, through Sunday, December 9, 2012, at Fairfield University's Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery, located in the Quick Center for the Arts. "Elements of Peace" consists of 47 recent paintings, works on paper, sculpture, mobiles and maquettes of large multi-dimensional constructions, and features works that range from vivid explosions of color by which the artist is recognized, to newer subtle white meditative paintings. Marlene Siff sees her work as a means of giving form to states of mind. "This collection represents issues and emotions that war evokes, and the complex search for alternative solutions," said the artist, who has a studio in Westport, CT. An opening reception, free and open to the public, takes place in the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery at the Quick Center for the Arts from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Thursday, September 20, 2012.
Over the past five years, during travels around the world, Marlene Siff has been jotting down ideas on paper napkins or hotel stationery, with inspiration coming from words and phrases relating to peace. "Color has been my muse for as long as I can remember, but the concept of peace suggests the color white - spiritual, harmonious and full of infinite possibilities," she said. "Made up of all the colors of the spectrum, white is my metaphor for a perfect union between people of all races, creeds and religions that is necessary for contemporary society to experience peace." Powerful examples include the multi-dimensional paintings "Shifting Balance", featuring a circle that rotates within a square, and "History and Geography", where the two concepts are intertwined.
The keystone of the exhibition is an extraordinary compelling mixed media assemblage entitled "Fallen Heroes/Afghanistan,"a radical departure from the artist's usual abstract art. On loan from CT Congressman Jim Himes's office in Washington DC for this exhibition, it commemorates all the servicemen and women who died in Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom through December 2009. Inspired by a photo-essay on this subject, "Roster of the Dead," published in the August 7, 2008, New York Times, Marlene Siff felt the need to do something to keep alive the memory of these individuals who had sacrificed their lives for our country. The result is a multi-dimensional flag completed in 2010 in which the artist painstakingly collected the names and ranks of the deceased and embedded them into the flag's white stripes.
Referring to her abstract paintings, the artist says, "I want to engage the viewer in a dialogue. Abstract art requires viewers to study and interpret it for themselves. I hope that 'Elements of Peace' raises questions about peace and its attainability. My goal is to create spaces and gateways for people of all walks of life to come together to reflect on war and peace, and to commemorate our fallen heroes."
Complementing the exhibition is a Catalogue Raisonné with full color reproductions of Siff's entire body of work. It includes a quote from British writer/art critic/art historian Edward Lucie-Smith who compares the artist to Robert and Sonia Delaunay of the Parisian avant-garde: "One of the ways in which the Delaunays differed from their rivals and contemporaries was that their work expressed a radiant faith in the future that remained unshaken by world events. I think Marlene Siff's work offers an equivalent, and now rare, optimism about human possibility, and this is one of the things that gives it its special flavor."
Marlene Siff (b. 1936) has exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and abroad and is on the Advisory Council of the Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art at Cornell University in New York. Her work is included in the permanent collection of the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum in Washington, D.C. and in several corporate collections. In the 1970s, Marlene Siff maintained a successful career in the commercial art field with clients that included JP Stevens and JC Penney. She decided to return to serious painting in 1980, and since that time she has had numerous solo and group exhibitions. Her works have been on view at the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C., Art Miami International Exposition, in Miami, Florida, the Toronto International Art Fair, in Toronto, Canada, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum in Ridgefield, CT, the Katonah Museum of Art, in Katonah, NY, the Walter Wickiser Gallery in New York City, and at many others locations. She is listed in "Who's Who In America." Earlier this year, she participated in "Art Takes Times Square," an international competition in which one of her paintings was selected for the Times Square Billboard's premier event in New York City. She is a graduate of the High School of Music and Art and of Hunter College, both in New York City.
Exhibition programs include a "Gallery Talk" with Marlene Siff in the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, that is free and open to the public. The downtown Fairfield University Bookstore, 1499 Post Road, in Fairfield, CT, is also presenting an "Author Meet & Greet" with Marlene Siff from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, October 12, 2012, where the artist will discuss and sign copies of her Catalogue Raisonné entitled "Marlene Siff."
The Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery is free and open to the public. Hours: Tuesday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sundays from noon to 4 p.m., and approximately one hour prior to curtain and during intermission at all Quick Center events. The Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts is located on the campus of Fairfield University at 1073 North Benson Road in Fairfield, Connecticut. Entrance to the Quick Center is through the Barlow Road gate at 200 Barlow Road. Free, secure parking is available. Access for people with disabilities is available throughout the Quick Center. Fairfield University is located off exit 22 of Interstate-95. For further information and directions, call (203) 254-4010 or 1-877-278-7396, or visit www.fairfield.edu/quick.
Image: Pictured is "In Perpetuity," 2011, by Marlene Siff, acrylic on linen, (18 x 57 1/2 x 12 in.) on view at the Thomas J. Walsh Art Gallery in the exhibition "Elements of Peace: Marlene Siff" from Thursday, September 20, 2012, through Sunday, December 9, 2012. (Photographed by Tim Pyle, 2011).
Vol. 45, No. 15