Calvin Siegel

There is a misplaced reverence toward the colonial architecture of the United States generally and the Northeast in particular that seeks to obscure the potent history that gives it life. It is the embedded violence of this particular, American colonialism that my work questions. To be confronted with vernacular architecture and its signage is to face a long, un-self-conscious history of necessity. However, by altering the sturdy signifiers that mark an object as American colloquial, space is created to reassess the roots of these aesthetics and to consider how they still haunt us today. This refracting of function allows the work to serve as a portrait of both the artist and the society rather than an anthropological study of either and to extend past its provincial representation to comment on the culture wholly.

The visual tools I have developed borrow from both exterior and interior, domestic architecture.  I use dollhouse shingles to cover the exterior of the house-like forms. The shift in scale of the dollhouse shingles in relation to the relatively human sized structures works toward an uncanny and uncomfortable reaction against the perceived, contained, psychological space within the structure. In my paintings I utilize banister moldings, mitered over and over and laid out flat, like the many, exploded viewpoints of a cubist work. I coat them with plaster and paint, similar to the finishing of a wall.  Other architectural renderings are routed into the moldings, and another structure in wood is laid over top. This layering of different types of spatial and ergonomic imagery addresses the dense, psycho-space within the walls of a house, collecting and storing energy over time.