Meditations: The Abstract Nature of H.A. Sigg

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A Personal Journey

In the late 1960s, Swiss artist H.A. Sigg was given the opportunity to work with Swissair as an artist-in-residence. To aid in producing his paintings, Sigg was permitted to ride in the cockpit of a commercial airplane and sketch the clouds, land and rivers below en route to different locations around the globe. While on the first of his journeys to Southeast Asia, he experienced the unique vantage point of looking directly down at the world from afar. The constraints of a limited viewpoint had been removed, allowing Sigg to meditate on his new intellectual approach to and observation of his surroundings.

Upon arriving in Southeast Asia, Sigg was once again in a position to observe the world around him differently. On the ground, he encountered Hindu temples and Buddhist shrines. These edifices became the basis for a series of geometric sculptures, paintings and collages. The intrinsic meditative qualities of these religious structures influenced the artist’s development of a previously unexpressed spiritual presence in his work. This new conceptual manner of thought culminated in his approach to Lyrical Abstract Expressionism. The transformative experiences of his travels and the integration of both landscape and architectural imagery became defining features of Sigg’s work.

This exhibition is made possible through kind support from the Consulate General of Switzerland in New York and the Institute for Venture Philanthropy.

Exhibition Programming

Thursday , March 4, 5:30 p.m.

H.A. Sigg’s Abstraction in Context

Elizabeth Ferrell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Art and Dana Saulnier, Professor, Department of Art, College of Creative Arts, Miami University

This talk situates H.A. Sigg’s art in the context of later-twentieth century abstraction by examining his painting and sculpture alongside works by abstract expressionist artists.

Thursday , March 13, 6 p.m.

Reading The Signs: The Art of H.A. Sigg

Amy H. Winter, Ph.D., Director and Curator of the Godwin-Ternbach Museum, Queens College, CUNY, NY

H.A. Sigg’s landscapes are composed of abstractions that reflect, rather than reproduce, nature itself. Calligraphic and geometric forms stand in for rivers and fields; drifting barges of light and color suggest clouds and mists observed in the morning or evening skies. This talk will explore the language invented by the artist that captures the essence and spirit of the forms and phenomena of the natural world.