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ABOUT THE ARTIST

While my mother wasn’t looking, we would steal the brooms and rakes and set out for the small patch of woods adjacent to the house. There we would sweep aside leaves and twigs, clearing the forest floor, forming paths that would bend and turn. We were creating the foundation for our imaginary world. At that time, imagination was a necessary component for
a kid growing up in a modest, rural North Carolina home. Thus began my preoccupation with direction and bearings.

It was my father who taught me how to read a map. We would drape it over the dinner table, gently unfolding the creases of paper painted with lines and numbers, and meticulously plan the route of whatever family road trip on which we were about to embark. It wasn’t just the planning that intrigued me, but the physical presence on those undulating ribbons of grey, the rise and fall of those two-lane blacktops that beckoned me to follow. It was the whisper of something different. A new landscape. A change of scenery. This landed me in Texas.

Being a Registered Nurse, it was not difficult to pull up stakes. I decided to finally leave the woods. Texas was where I met my husband and started a family. We lived in Houston,
Kemah, and San Antonio, but it was in Austin that I realized I missed the woods and returned to school and my first love – fine art. At the age when most people are considering retirement, I received my BFA in Studio Art at The University of Texas. 

This continuous uprooting has led me to redefine what is “home.” I attempt to draw lines from past to present, connect the abstract to the physical, and draw an association between person and place. I focus on retrospective memory constructed from relationships and domestic environments. I am always looking for new directions and new perspectives on all
things around me. I am still in the woods, clearing the forest floor for new adventures.

 

ARTIST STATEMENT

Dictionaries give us two definitions of the word journey:  “Something suggesting
travel or passage from one place to another
” and “a long and often difficult process
of personal change and development
.” My work embraces both; it explores the past
and the present as well as preconceived notions of what life should be. My work considers the consequences when lives are reordered by significant change. Fraught
with emotion, these journeys can be attended by fear and the dread of things unknown
or by the excitement of adventure and new beginnings. It is, however, the paths and
what prompts that change in direction that interests me the most. The metaphorical
fork in the road. The crossing of boundaries. 

During the spring of 2013, accompanied by my husband’s old 35mm camera, I revisited the small mill town of my youth, a place I vowed never to return. I wanted to retrace my steps and dive into my wellspring of teenage angst. It was an adult’s perspective on old hangouts, young relationships, and evolving topography. The following year, without leaving my home, I travelled back to summers of fresh strawberries and hanging out in
my mother’s kitchen. My mother was a huge influence in my life. She was loved and admired for many things, but mostly for her generosity and her strawberry custard pie.
In the series Not My Mother’s Pie, I documented with a large format camera multiple attempts to recreate that delectable piece of art. Missing a proper recipe or roadmap,
I was forced to realize that you cannot recreate or revise the past, no matter how many times you try.

Moving or relocating embodies both travel and personal development. Moving usually requires an inventory of belongings, which is often accompanied by an inventory or reassessment of one’s self. So I did just that. In Inventory of Things, I documented my family’s belongings with my iPhone camera before placing them in boxes.  I drew a parallel between the new smart phone camera and the old instant Polaroid camera. Creating an exchange of sort, I decided to extract images from the Internet. Forming
two-dimensional maps using images procured from Google Maps I incorporated
abstracts derived from a changing database of information, creating a chronicle of passages. Using social media, I shared my inventory, exposing the materiality of our
lives and unveiling certain truths about the way we live. 

"In the midst of sorrow there is joy, and in the midst of joy there is sorrow."                                                                                                                    -Mishei Shlomo 14:13                                       

While downsizing into our new home, I came across a number of old letters from my husband’s Uncle Arthur that I remembered receiving when our children were very
young. At the time, these letters were cast aside, eventually packed into boxes and
stored in perpetual darkness. Now these letters paint a very different portrait of Arthur than I remember. I appreciate the wisdom he was trying to impart to those he cared about and the well of pain from which he was drawing. Over a span of six years, Arthur mailed over 70 letters, totaling 166 pages, to 35 different recipients. Arthur began writing these letters when, after the death of his wife, he was diagnosed with cancer and underwent
a laryngectomy. Amidst the mundane details of his daily life, Arthur waxed poetically
upon such universal themes as loss, aging and, his most transformative issue, the disappearance of his voice. My current project is derived directly from Arthur’s work
and creates a portrait assembled from remnants of his desire to connect.

A recurring theme in my work is an association between person and place. As our journeys in life are influenced by our past, my work is influenced by memory
and self-reflection.

see more on instagram
@trishsiegel