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Barbara Millstein - 2003

Catalogue essay: "Interior/Exterior – Five Perspectives on Landscape Photography"

Claire Seidl is by her own admission primarily an abstract painter, and has been for almost thirty years. Her career and her work are well established, wiith eighteen one-person exhibitions and countless group exhibitions, numerous reviews and articles, and inclusion in major collections around the world. Therefore, while it is somewhat surprising that she is also a photographer, it is no surprise that she would bring to that work a sense of the abstract, a love of reflection, texture and surprise. While Ms. Seidl's paintings are evocative of nature and landscape, they are decidedly not figurative. Likewise, the photographs, while clearly about landscape - and the things and people that inhabit it - are also informed by a deep love of the abstract. Her favorite avenue of description is distortion. And she is not afraid to lose her outlines in a search for asymmetry and shock. Her photographs seem to swell the space they occupy, while refection, shadow, blurring and layers of information are a common form of expression. Ms. Seidl feels free to change her style in order to accomodate emotion. One of her subjects in this photo essay is a pre-adolescent girl with whom one is tempted to speculate is her own doppelganger. Faster, slower, blurred or clear, Claire Seidl is a painter with a camera. These are emotional images which just as easily might have been applied to canvas w ith equal success by a figurative painter. Light, reflection, tone and line are all present. These are the clues to her painterly interests, and they are also indicativeof her growing affection for the camera.