Bio | Steven Siegel
Steven Siegel is a prominent environmental artist born in White Plains, New York in 1953, and best known for his public art commissions and site-specific installations created from recycled materials. After graduating from Hampshire College (1976) in Amherst, Massachusetts, he received a Masters of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY (1978).
Steven Siegel's early interest in geology was stimulated after reading Basin and Range by John McPhee. Sponsored by the New York Foundation for the Arts, he traveled to Scotland in 1983, and visited the site where geologist Dr. James Hutton made his discoveries. The rock formations in Scotland were the result of the geologic processes at work over millions of years. The experience had resonated with Siegel and is reflected in his early work, notably in his newspaper sculptures, which he first attempted for the Snug Harbor Sculpture Festival on Staten Island, New York in 1990. Staten Island is home to Freshkills Park, once the world’s largest landfill, with tons of refuse buried under mounds of earth. The location prompted Siegel to note that humans were creating a “new geology” from waste, and inspired the titles of his first sculptures of this kind: New Geology #1 (1990) and New Geology #2 (1992).
Siegel's studio work has taken on increasing importance since the year 2000. For instance, “Wonderful Life” is a series of 52 wall pieces inspired by the artist’s curiosity in Life science, especially in biology. The work is titled after Stephen Jay Gould’s book of the same name, about evolution theory. Siegel’s Wonderful Life was completed in 2008, and was featured in a traveling exhibition organized by the Turchin Center for Visual Arts in North Carolina in 2009.
During the years 2008-2013, the artist constructed his magnum opus, Biography. At 156 feet in length, Biography has never been seen all at once, by Siegel or anyone else. This mixed media wall piece has only been visualized in its entirety via Photoshop, as a composite of dozens of photographs. The work has been shown in very large sections at Marlborough Gallery in 2011 and 2013, in addition to other large venues.
Since 2013, Siegel has been producing large collages that combine object making, photography, computer manipulation, and film. ″A Puzzle for Alice″ was completed in 2016, followed by ″35 Pieces″ in 2017, and “An Art Video” in 2018. He received numerous prizes and honors for his film and collage works, notably the Grand Jury Prize for Best Experimental Film at Red Rocks Film Festival in 2018 for “An Art Video”.
Siegel is the recipient of various grants and awards, including the Martin and Doris Rosen Award at the Twelfth Rosen Outdoor Sculpture Competition and Exhibition at Appalachian State University in 1998, and the 1999 ArtsLink Collaborative Projects Award for support of work to create a collaborative sculpture project in Eastern Europe, with students from the Moscow Center for Contemporary Art Studies in 2000.
Steven Siegel has exhibited extensively at museums and key galleries, such as Marlborough Chelsea and Cynthia Reeves Projects. He also created numerous private commissions, site sculptures, and installations and undertook many public art commissions across the USA and internationally, such as Suncheon Weave in South Korea in 2016, Meran Flowers (The Cake), in Italy in 2015, and most recently Like a Buoy, Like a Bottle in Providence, RI in 2019. Likewise, he developed various University projects, including Tilt 2005 at Kent State University in 2005, E-virus at Stanford University in 2006, and lately, Fredonia (The Suitcase) at the State University of New York (SUNY) at Fredonia in 2015.
Siegel lives and works in Tivoli, upstate New York, in a Passive House and adjacent studio, surrounded by nature.