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Editorial: Recommendations
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Sara Siestreem
Augen Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer


Sara Siestreem, "Eagles Peak/Bartow," 2014, acrylic, color pencil and graphite on BFK Rives paper, 26 x 20"

Continuing through September 26, 2015

In “Love Songs,” Sara Siestreem sings a love song to nature: abstract paintings that employ drips, streaks, masses, and color fields suggest the many moods of landscape and atmosphere. Oval and circular motifs in “Eagles Peak/Bartow” and “Portrait of a Wise Man” evoke schools of fish congregating in a stream or bales of hay stacked in autumn fields. In “Snow Field:  Ice Mountain,” red gestures lie buried under milky off-white, like crops lying dormant under a blanket of snow. Above them, rhythmical red dashes cluster like a fading dream of summer, each dash the prong of a pagan crown. 

Siestreem excels working on paper, and all but one piece in the show (“Aerial Interior: Twins,” which is on panel) hold forth on hardy sheets of Rives BFK. In “Winter Transition” the artist combines acrylic paint, graphite, pastels, color pencil and conté in sweeping slashes and scratches, which interact with long, vertical drips that conjure pelting rain. While the works rhapsodize landscape, their nature-worship is not all sunshine and rainbows; “Tart” is arched like a tombstone. The preponderance of blacks and blood-reds across the show lends somber, even sinister undertones, as do the violent graphite scrawls that cut like wounds across the picture planes. These abstracted fields and streams invite frolic and fear in equal measure.

Augen Gallery

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