Known for Painting
|Education Boston University, American University|
Maggie Siner is a contemporary American painter and teacher. She is known for her paintings of interiors, figures, still-life and landscape.
- Maggie siner
- Excerpt of maggie siner s gallery talk
- Early life education and travels
- Medical illustration and facial reconstruction
Excerpt of maggie siner s gallery talk
Early life, education and travels
Siner was born Margaret Siner in Providence, Rhode Island to a Jewish family originally emigrated from Russia to the USA in the early 1900s. Her family moved to Maplewood, New Jersey where she completed her high school education while taking painting classes at The Art Students League of New York (1968–69). She attended Boston University (1969-1973, BFA, 1973) and The American University (1974-1976, MFA, 1976) majoring in painting. While on scholarship to Boston University’s summer fine art program at the Tanglewood Institute, Lenox, MA (1971), Siner met Robert D’Arista who was a major influence on her work. She later studied with him at American University. In 1971 she was on a full scholarship at the Tanglewood Institute, which had Fine Art Program for a few years. In 1974 Siner attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture to study fresco painting.
Siner lived in France from 1976 to 1980, settling in a 17th-century windmill near Fuveau, at the foot of Mont Sainte Victoire, the mountain made iconic by Cezanne’s paintings. She taught at the L’Institut d'Universités Américaines in Aix-en-Provence and had her first solo show in Aix-en-Provence at Galerie ‘Les Amis des Arts’. Her involvement in a women's self-help group led to auditing medical courses at the Faculté de Medicine in the University of Marseille. She continued medical studies after moving back to the USA in 1981 and studied human anatomy at Georgetown University Medical School in 1986. Over subsequent decades she often returned to France for extended periods of time, for teaching and exhibitions.
Siner first went to China in 1991 and was invited to teach painting in the art department of Xiamen University in Xiamen, PRC in 1992 and again in 1999 and 2004.
Siner first painted in Venice in 2008, and now lives there for most of the year.
Siner was classically trained and works with traditional archival oil painting materials in a freshly contemporary handling. She is among a small number of contemporary painters working exclusively from life, exploring beauty and meaning in the fleeting visual world. This, along with her fine craftsmanship and modestly sized work, makes her something of an anomaly in the current art dialogue
Her perceptual painting focuses on “how we actually see, how we respond to color and shape in a physical and emotional way, how our eyes move and travel, stop on an edge or leap to a point of contrast, how we react to verticals and horizontals how one color alters another color, how shapes create weight, movement and lead our eyes along a path”
In a recent interview for the NashvilleArts magazine, Siner says "I work from direct visual perception, … painting the colors and shapes created by light falling on various things, but not painting the things themselves."
Her subject matter follows many different threads, ranging from the intimate to the monumental to the whimsical and strange. The landscape is crucial for it’s immediacy but she frequently paints figures, portraits and still life, with her current works dedicated to laden tables and unmade beds, chosen precisely for their narrative ambiguities and the possibilities offered by the color white.
She searches tirelessly - on the road or in the studio - for the subject, the light, or the position that delivers the right emotional experience, and then produces it with dazzling skill, through vigorous and brilliant brushwork, composition and architecture supported by strong solid drawing.
Her gestural brushwork owes much to her years spent in China, absorbing the language of Chinese ink painting, as well as the Abstract Expressionist influence of her mentor Robert D’Arista.
"Among her many gifts is her ability as a painter to transform the ordinary – an unmade bed, a dress or coat on a hanger, a visitor to a museum – into the extraordinary. Siner’s painting is "… a distillation that seems to have been born through the process of reduction. This characteristic economy of technique is evident in every painting." 
She captures the dramatic play of light and shadow with bold lyricism.
A list of solo and group exhibitions of Maggie Siner is available on her website.
Trained in anatomy and figurative sculpture at Boston University Siner has continued working in clay throughout her career. While teaching in Lacoste, France, she began stone carving in the nearby limestone quarries and produced several life sized stone sculptures. All of her sculpture is figurative and has been exhibited in the USA, France and Italy.
Siner is a devoted and inspirational teacher who has influenced a generation of painters, and is noted for her energetic and structured teaching style. She has taught for over three decades in art academies, universities and private art schools such as; the Institut d’Universités Américaines and the Lacoste School of the Arts in France, Xiamen University in China, Savannah College of Art and Design, American University, and the Washington Studio School in The United States. Classes taught include painting, drawing, sculpture, design, painting analysis, art history, landscape and anatomy. Her innovative and challenging Anatomy Drawing class is legendary. She was Dean of Faculty at the Washington Studio School in 1996-1997. She is a frequent guest artist and public speaker appreciated for her revealing lectures on the internal workings of painting, among which her original research on “Rembrandt and the Painter’s Secret Geometry” is very thought-provoking. She is working on a related book. A list of teaching activities and academic appointments of Maggie Siner is available on her website.
“As a teacher Siner impresses with her generosity, her determination to share the forceful approach she brings to her own work.”
Medical illustration and facial reconstruction
During the 1980s Siner freelanced as a medical illustrator. Her knowledge of anatomy, as well as her artistic skill of portraiture and sculpture were put to practical use in 1988 when she created facial reconstructions for police in Leesburg, Virginia, leading in one instance to the identification of a murder victim.