As I mentioned before, there were certain shows I knew I wanted to see while we were in Seattle last weekend. I’ve loved the work of Seattle artist Anne Siems since first seeing it online and was excited to get my chance to see her work up close and personal. Her solo show, Guidance is showing at Grover Thurston Gallery, just up ( or down? Still don’t have my Seattle geography down pat ) the street from Foster/White, so away we went.
Siems’ inspiration behind the show was the evolution of her daughter from childhood into adolescence and the idea that wild animal spirits may help children navigate their way through this transition. In each of us there is a wild, animalistic-like spirit that, as we grow up and grow older gets buried under years of suppression and training in proper behavior.
In Siems’ work, we see children taking on historically grim expression and formal, constricting garb, reminding us of centuries of children whose innocence is lost all too soon. Children whose natural wild spirits may fight against the constraints of social tradition and custom.
I was particularly drawn to Bison Boy ( above ), perhaps for the way the figure is isolated starkly against the white paper background. He has been taken out of his environment, out of his element. His garments are in the somewhat effeminate style of his era, yet his bison head & skin seem to be reminding us to not forget the wildness within.
George’s favorite work in the show was Lynx Cap ( below ), as this figure retains a sprightly, little girl expression in contrast to the other figures’ more suppressed, even haughty countenances. She is still an innocent.
I could go on and on about these and talk about every one– they are so interesting, visually and spiritually. If you’d like to see more of Anne Siems’ work, please visit her website. If you’re in Seattle, I highly recommend a visit to Grover Thurston to see these in person, a truly stunning show.
Featured image is Heart Branches, mixed media on panel, 30×30. All images are via the artist’s website.