Larraine SeidenPiedmont, CA
Through the Passages series, I explore moments of transcendence that happen against the intense chatter of everyday contemporary life.
I’m fascinated by the human desire to create structure at fundamental levels. With this in mind, I start many pieces with a base layer of collaged ephemera from daily life: notes, shopping and to do lists, clippings from magazines and maps. I use pigmented wax to paint a foundation of transparent color field over the collaged paper before layering fabric net impressions in encaustic. Next, I look for the hundreds of pathways that are left to carve and refine. The process is tedious and repetitive, much like traditional stitch work that I admire. These works are a witness to the everyday, such as quilts were in the past. Since the title Passages implies time, the intensive process and the meaning merge. Rows of lines that appear to flow from left to right create a rhythm like breath or written text, that compel one forward. I also see the patterns as sonorous, as a calm hum rising out of the hectic buzz of everyday.
Larraine 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. She drew a lot and became a painter, but her eye never strayed far from the intuitive formalism found in textile arts. She also noticed early on how different it felt to walk in her town’s historic center as compared to being at the mall. This interest in how people shape and experience place led her to work in architecture and urban planning. Although she left that profession, those concerns run through all of her art. In her current work, Larraine projects emotional terrain onto the constructed world. She uses the thick physicality of encaustic paint to explore experiences of inner and external place. The human body isn’t always apparent, but it is implied in the translucent and receptive properties of wax paint she sees as skin that is marked by time and its environment.
Her belief that art has fundamental skills to teach everyone led Larraine to get an M.S. in Art and Design Education from Pratt Institute in New York after earning her B.A. in Studio Art from California State University of the East Bay (Hayward). Over the past fifteen years, she has taught art at the K-12 level and to adults in the Bay Area, Pennsylvania, Oaxaca City in Mexico, and in New York City. More recently, Larraine has had the pleasure of working with Betty Edwards, author of Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain, and her son, master teacher Brian Bomeisler. Larraine is now one of very few certified to teach the method by Betty Edwards. Larraine teaches the course independently and to corporate groups, including Pixar Animation Studios.
Larraine is inspired by her husband, their two little boys, and by their city by San Francisco Bay. She exhibits her work in the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the United States.