On view February 15 through June 18, 2023 


Opening Celebration: February 16 from 4 to 8 p.m. 

The unbuilt, vast landscape presides in history as a nostalgic memento grounding the Western environment while testifying to urban and infrastructural changes of the 20th century. For Louis Siegriest (1899-1989), landscapes like these spoke to recollections and experiences that revealed a deep sense of place. From the early 1910s to the late 1980s, Siegriest approached the rough realities of land with a raw and unpolished expression. From his earlier representative works, painted outdoors and exhibited with a group of modernist painters, to his later non-objective works, sculpted from gypsum and asphalt, Siegriest approached landscapes as a medium to grapple with and to unearth the human connection with land and how this shapes identity and memory. 

Born in Oakland, California, Siegriest took an interest in painting at an early age. By fifteen, he joined a group of established Bay Area artists practicing avant-garde approaches to painting. Known as the Society of Six, the group was led by Selden Gile and included members William Clapp, August Gay, Maurice Logan, and Bernard von Eichman. The Society of Six exhibited together through the 1920s, bringing forward bold colors and expressive brush strokes reflective of modern European movements but grounded in the physical outdoor terrain of Northern California.

This exhibition unfolds chronologically, featuring paintings, etchings, collages, and earth materials that contextualize Siegriest's growth as an artist with peers and influences over half a century. The first gallery presents  work by the Society of Six from the group's prime of the late 1920s to their individual practices of the 1960s. Many of these works reflect the group's initial manifesto yet expose the divisional growth of Siegriest. The second gallery marks Siegriest's shift in perspective toward land. No longer capturing a moment but rather cumulative experiences, Siegriest molded these ideas through material exploration indicative of his layered collages of the 1950s and the refined sand and gypsum scaffolds of the 1960s. 

As an artist devoted to growth and discovery, Siegriest's work cannot be placed in a particular style or movement as it holds and reflects selected elements from one era to the next. With these selected elements, Siegriest refines his oeuvre of landscapes to express the core sense of place, unearthing recollections, memories, mines, and physical dirt to expose the raw layers and depths of space that give land meaning over time.

–Britt Royer, Curator