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Claire Seidl - 2012

Painting Statement 2012
If I ever had a bag of tricks, I checked it a long time ago. I have no pre-conceived ideas or plans when I paint. I adhere to no set of procedural givens. I have no signature style. My relationship to painting is not settled, but dynamic and evolving. Each painting is resolved according to its own individual requirements; and my job is to look hard and long enough to find them. I seek new ways to mesh surface and space convincingly and always look for new pictorial resolutions. I focus on the visual, but mine is also a personal response to paint that includes emotion and feeling. I am not an intellectual. I’m not trying to fit, or to fit in. I respond to the color and movement, scale, forms and lines as well as to the layers and erasures that speak of space and time and memory. There is darkness in my paintings, and light; speed and stillness; strength and softness. There are moods and secrets. There is color with its attendant associations. Something is being expressed, something uniquely human.

Photography Statement 2012
I have been an abstract painter for more three decades, and a photographer for half as long. I started shooting pictures in and around an old family camp in the western mountains of Maine, wanting to make art about what I experienced and saw there, without rendering the landscape in drawings or paintings.

All of my photographs suggest a human presence, with or without figures in them. People, mostly family, both inhabit and escape from the frame of the camera. The viewer can also step into this space, filling an absence as if crossing a threshold. In long exposures, the figures become ghostlike as their movements are recorded over time, while the man-made elements of home (the things we leave behind) seem fixed in time. At times, the images feel like a flash of memory, a moment held.

My painter’s eye directs me in shooting, developing and printing the photographs. Elements intrinsic to painting, like gestural line, multiple layered space and ambiguous form and content, are all present. Some people see my photographs as abstractions, but they are deeply rooted in the real world; they are filled with specifics of place and people and natural phenomena.

I am very interested in how we see (or don’t see) what is right in front of us. The camera gathers more visual information, especially over time or in the dark, than our eyes can. It can hold multiple layers of space and reflections in focus while we can only perceive one at a time. My photographs show more than the unassisted eye can see. They are not manipulated in the darkroom.

My photographs are intimate studies with an elusive topic: the ephemeral nature of things in transition.