Biography of James Siena
James Siena (b. 1957) is at the forefront of contemporary abstract art, creating graceful compositions that are both deeply personal and universal at the same time. His mesmerizingly intricate artworks are based on what he defines as “visual algorithms”—rules and constraints that he invents and follows through in each artwork. Taking these self-imposed parameters as his starting point, Siena then creates sophisticated patterns of lines, colors and forms that seem to expand infinitely beyond the frame of each piece. Due to their process of creation, they are both visually and conceptually reminiscent of Artificial Intelligence aesthetics—a subject of great fascination and inspiration for Siena. The works are hypnotic and labyrinthine sequences of forms, fragments of an infinitely multipliable idea. The more one looks at them, the more one is drawn into their web. Siena’s works, always growing out of his defined rules, range from rigidly geometric and abstract, to biomorphic, and even figurative at times.
James Siena’s oeuvre is largely on paper, with print-making being of particular importance. Through the process of lithography, he is able to draw meticulously by hand, and then replicate his artwork in multiple editions. He often layers several colors in each print, making the resulting artwork the subject of a long and laborious process. The idea of producing editions resonates strongly with Siena’s interest in machinery and robotic production, while at the same time revealing his meticulous workmanship.
James Siena is represented by the prestigious Pace gallery in New York, where he lives and works. He is a professor and lecturer at several institutions in the USA, and is featured in many notable collections, such as the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney and the MoMA in New York, the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles and the Yale University Art Gallery.