Anne Siems

Artist: Siems, Anne
Title/Date: Nuestra Senora Rebia, 1996

Description of the work: This work began while Anne Siems was living in Seattle with a small desk and wall space. She took paper from newsprint, bags, and with wax, pens, ink, and acrylic paint started to create. The images developed over time, with multiple images layered with precision and purpose, overlapping on a central form that dominates the composition. She employs a painterly style, while using nature as the underlying theme. The symbolism is reminiscent of devotional folk art, and she has taken inspiration from Mexican retablos, Indian yantras, Buddhist mandalas, and medieval art. Her intent is to depict her relationship with the spiritual, searching for a place that is sublime, intimate and otherworldly.

Nuestra Senora Rebia translates to Our Lady Rebia. When referring to a woman in Spanish as “Our Lady,” it references to a mother, a saint, or a saintly mother. The title of this wax lithograph gives the context of a retablo, which is a Mexican devotional painting, which offers protection and is a devotional device for spiritual guidance. The composition has a variegated deep-red background, which is darkest around the edges and many layers of images and colors on top. The first is a series of yellow circles with numbers drawn in black on the inside. Next is a layer of black script, which is mostly covered by the subsequent colors: the bottom script reads Esarba, which could be a name of someone. Next is a circle of cream-colored cloud or floral shapes forming a wreath or halo in the center of the substrate and on top are stark white abstracted symbols in the middle of each floral shapes. White raindrops fall from this halo to the bottom of the image. Lastly, black lines and curves tumble out from the top with tassels on the end appearing to be ropes. The overall composition reads as a hidden poem or prayer that arises from the subconscious, part known, and part hidden.

Artist’s Biography: Anne Siems was born in Germany in 1965. Her family lived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 1969 to 1971, where she became immersed in a new culture that would later inform her work. She first lived in the United States from 1986-1991 as an exchange student. Upon returning to Germany, she went to graduate school in Berlin at the Hoschschule der Kunste and obtained her MFA. Siems moved to Seattle in 1991 and went from a having a large studio and worked large-scale, to a small room, and began her waxed images.

Siems work has evolved over the years, from small-scale waxed images, three dimensional, transparent garments, to painted panels. She now paints on a firm smooth surface for more precision and detail. Inspired by a photo of a friend, she began painting portraits and went onto figurative work. She is interested in both representational and abstracted paintings that reflect reality without a specific narrative. Life, death, sensuality, sexuality, nature, dreams, the subconscious, and the spirit are the ideas and concepts that drive her work. Much of her paintings stem from the early European masters, American folk art, vintage and modern photography.

Anne Siems has had a multitude of solo shows throughout the United States and Europe, as well as group showings at prestigious museums and galleries. She has won awards from OCAC, Neddy, Artquake and a Woman Artists Stipend from Alice Rooney. Her work has been collected by museums, large companies, (such as Microsoft, Hallmark, and Nestlé), as well as celebrities such as Harry Connick Junior.

Signed: Bottom right corner, signed in pencil, difficult to see.
Date and dimension: 1996; Frame: 20.5×17.5″ Image: 14.5×11.5″
Medium: Lithograph with wax
Accession # and Acquisition Date: 2004.02.05
Condition: Excellent
Provenance and Exhibitions: Part of the University Art Gallery’s permanent collections at New Mexico State University. Currently not on view.
Framed or Flat: Framed mounted
Current location:
Bibliography: Siems, Anne. “Biography.” Biography. 2015. Accessed November 10, 2016.
Koeppel, Fredrick. “Ghostly, Beautiful Paintings by Anne Siems on Display at Lusk Gallery.” The Commercial Appeal Memphis. February 6, 2014. Accessed November 17, 2016.
“Women in Art.” Les Femmes Folles. February 20, 2015. Accessed November 15, 2016.
Reproductions: UKN
Researched By: Felicia Castro, 19 October, 2016