Let's talk about art: Blaine Siegel

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This is a biweekly series about art and artists in the region. Pittsburgh Filmmakers/Pittsburgh Center for the Arts serves the community through arts education, exhibitions and artist resources.

One of the many talented artists featured in this year’s Pittsburgh Biennial is Blaine Siegel. As an interdisciplinary artist, he has worked in video, painting, drawing, photography and sculpture. He likes to experiment with colors, shapes, patterns and combined materials.

“I work across many mediums and disciplines,” he says. “Yet I identify as a sculptor, as my first investigations into creation are always rooted in the physical.”

Mr. Siegel was born and reared in Pittsburgh. When he left for college, he swore he would never return. But after he earned his bachelor of fine arts degree in photography at Syracuse University and his master of fine arts degree in sculpture at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, and spent some time on the West Coast, he did in fact come home.

“I’ve become a huge advocate for Pittsburgh,” he says. “The lay of the land, the infrastructure — it affects the way I perceive space. I am drawn to the hills, mountains and the structures built into them.”

“Tristimulus Response No.7,” Mr. Siegel’s exhibit for The Biennial at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside — which runs through Nov. 2 — came from an experience he had while meditating.

“I realized that you do not lose sight when you close your eyes,” he says, explaining that with a little patience we all can see patterns, shapes and colors. His installation, which ponders the transitory experience and the idea of impermanence, uses old wooden doors — once trees — painted and cut to form new patterns and geometric shapes on the wall.

“The combination of repurposed materials speaks to the temporary nature of form.” he says. “Plastic bags, ultraviolet light, foam kick boards — it’s all relevant in my art-making perspective,” he says.

“Everything is fair game for creating meaning.”

The Pittsburgh Biennial started at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in 1994 as a way to celebrate regional artists. Twenty years later it continues to grow in scope and location, becoming the largest survey of regional contemporary art in Western Pennsylvania.

To learn more about Blaine Siegel, visit blainesiegel.com. For more information about the 2014 Pittsburgh Biennial, visit: http://pittsburghbiennial.org/.

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