back                   Distinguished Cornell '79 Classmates Honored at the 30th Reunion                    next
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
   

James H. Siena  

James is a New York based artist whose complex, rule-based linear abstractions have situated him firmly within the trajectory of modern American art. Compared to art world luminaries such as Sol LeWitt, Agnes Martin, and Alfred Jensen, his artwork is driven by selfimposed predetermined sets of rules, or “visual algorithms,” which find their end-result in intensely concentrated, vibrantly-colored, freehand geometric patterns. James works across a diverse range of media, including painting, drawing, lithography, etching, woodcut, and engraving.

James’ work is held in numerous important public and private collections across the United States, including The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.

James’ work has been featured in nearly 120 solo and group exhibitions since 1981, including the 2004 Biennial at the Whitney. He has received many distinctions and awards throughout his career, including the Award in Art from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York (2000); the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Biennial Competition Award (1999); and The New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Painting (1994). Mr. Siena was also the recipient of the Edward Durrell Stone Award (1977) and the Charles Goodwin Sands Medal (1979) from Cornell. Most recently, he was awarded the 2009-10 Cornell Eissner Artist of the Year Award.

In 2004, he completed an artist-in-residency program at Yaddo, and was elected to their Board of Directors. At Cornell, he also serves on two Advisory Councils: for the Johnson Museum, and for the College of Architecture, Art and Planning.

In addition to his practice as an artist, James has lectured and taught at institutions throughout the United States, including the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cooper Union School of Art, Cornell, Massachusetts College of Art, New School University, New York Studio School, Rutgers, San Francisco Art Institute, School of Visual Arts, University of Iowa, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Yale.

After receiving his BFA and spending some months in Spain and a couple of years in a farmhouse with no running water in West Danby, he moved to New York City in 1981, where he supported himself as a mat cutter and picture framer. He landed his first solo exhibition in New York in 1996 and would join the major Manhattan gallery, PaceWildenstein, home to many of the most significant artists of the 20th and 21st centuries in 2004.

James lives and works in New York City and Western Massachusetts.

Siena