In the NY Sun, David Cohen writes that the quality of line in James Siena’s new figurative grotesques relates to the quilt- or lattice-like grids and labyrinths of classic Siena pictures. “Not just formally but also in terms of their own morphology: The line seems as subservient to algorithm as depiction, even though they work depictively. In ‘First Old Man’ (2006), for instance, there is more a sense that the figure emerged from a maze-like algorithm that went awry than that the eye-popping, snarling figure was himself the prime mover of the linear form meandering about the page. And yet this colon-like form, doubling back and forth on itself, perfectly describes the loose gums and folding flesh of a wrinkled geriatric….Works in his new genres exude all the excitement of thematic departure, but the most intense pleasures in this show occur when Mr. Siena is on familiar ground — whether this is a result of this viewer’s comfort level or the artist’s is a matter of conjecture. Read more.
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