My work comes directly out of the chaos of contemporary life. In the found spaces between juggling young children, teaching jobs, stacked chores, and an iPhone. My art practice is my meditation, through which I seek moments of transcendence against the intense chatter of this moment.
In the PASSAGES series—and throughout my work—fabric suggests an intersection between the pliable self and the more rigid built world it inhabits. Paper ephemera such as lists, grids, blueprints, and calendars give structure to shape a personal architecture. I piece together and embed those fragments in my work, like an improvisational quilter who sees through her formalist lens.
To suggest the processes of accumulating memories and also building cities, I add successive layers of paint over the collage, then scrape them back to see what is revealed. The resulting topography of encaustic medium captures moving daylight and marks passing time, while detailed relief surfaces play off the layers below. Because of this, my paintings look quite different up close than from across a room. Echoing my studio practice, the viewer is rewarded for hovering just above the fray and also for taking a closer look to find meaning among the every day minutia.
The series SENSATE of Place is an exploration of emotional terrain that is inspired by the concept “sense of place.” Through imagined topographies I consider how we are marked by the places we construct and how we mark/make them. I want to build an experience of place that is somatic and deeply felt. These works rarely refer to specific locations, but delve into internalized coordinates and the way memory selectively maps experience—of a place out in the world or of a place in time.
How do we mark the world and how does it mark us? This question hovers over Larraine Seiden’s work that tracks the inner terrain as it moves through the physical world. She uses the language of textiles and collage to map rhythms she seeks among the found spaces of contemporary life.
Seiden grew up in the middle of Pennsylvania during the 1970’s and 80’s where the only art she saw was the fine craft of quilts. At home, the women she knew sewed and knitted, marking time with their stitching. She drew a lot and became a painter, but her eye never strayed far from the intuitive formalism found in the textile arts of Pennsylvania and later, from around the world.
Kids were “free range” then, and she walked, biked, and roller-skated through her days and her world, marking place with her tracks. Later, an interest in how people shape and experience place led her to work in architecture and urban planning for a time after college. Although she left that profession, those concerns run through her art as evidenced by map and blueprint scraps and shifts in perspective.
Seiden received her Bachelor’s of Art (Studio) from California State University at Hayward (now East Bay) and a Masters in Art and Design Education from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York. Her work is in corporate collections including at Cushman/Wakefield in Minneapolis and Sutter Health at the new Van Ness Hospital in San Francisco. Working in the found spaces near by lead her to be an Artist in Residence at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA and to work through the dynamic San Francisco based organization Artspan, which named her a “Top 5 Open Studio to Visit” in 2018 out of over 400 artists. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two kids. She’s also just down the street from her three hundred or so elementary art students.