ANNE SEIDMAN at Schmidt Dean

Anne Seidman, Untitled, 2008, 20" x 20", waterbased paint on wood panel

Painter Anne Seidman has a beautiful new show that just opened in Philadelphia at the Schmidt/Dean Gallery. The narrow intimate space of the gallery is perfectly suited to this group of very small scale, but high impact paintings. The perfectly spare installation isolates each piece, so the works read as small spots of concentrated color energy that draw the viewer in for close inspection. The paintings shown were done over the past three years, and reveal Seidman in the process of forging into exciting new territory. Although all the paintings are built out of many layers, ranging from juicy amalgamated color fields to loose geometric spacial divisions, the final stage or end product varies greatly from one piece to the next. We can see, imbedded in each surface, the intuitive organic painting process taking place – each action determining the direction of the next. Also evident is a sort of willful inventiveness, an experimental attitude that compels Seidman to avoid formulaic solutions, so each painting has the freshness of a new breakthrough. The most recent works in the show employ a new configuration that consists of interlocking color triangles that form an animated cluster which floats in dynamic relation to a painterly field, although always anchored to an edge. These pieces are distinctive in their departure from the rectangular open grid organization of her previous paintings, and seem to unleash a new potential for color complexity and movement in Seidmans work.

With all the talk (by those who actually think about such things) of a “resurgence” of abstract painting, one needs only to consider an artist like Seidman to realize the irrelevance of such considerations. These paintings do not participate in the ebb and flow of fashion, but rather are products of human sensibility in direct contact with the most fundamental aspects of culture, nature, history. Their power comes, not from the "strategies" they adopt, but from the intensity of the reality they embody.