On Friday, February 2, Maura Carta and Ruth-Anne Siegel celebrated their featured show, Oil & Water, with a unique and festive reception. The celebration was a sparkling wine and an all-chocolate affair with chocolate-covered marshmallows, home-baked brownies, and dark, rich truffles. The beverages including sparkling water, sparkling apple juice, and California sparkling wine, all served in champagne flutes.
Why is the show called Oil & Water?
Realistic /Abstract — Subtle/Bold —Muted / Vibrant— Oil/Water — Carta/Siegel — Their styles are different, even opposites, both Carta and Siegel draw influence from the natural world and immerse themselves in their respective subjects to bring them to artistic life via oil paint for Carta and acrylic paint for Siegel.
Siegel, a prolific acrylic painter of abstract art, is currently focusing on flowers. These abstract floral portraits are bold with vibrant colors and expressive paint strokes.
With flowers, she has the freedom to capture impressions of colors, light, and movement with expressive brushwork filled with emotion. The viewer cannot help but notice the flow of a stem as it twists and turns into a lush bloom as well as the layering of petals over one another in a fluttering visual cacophony. With thick paint, palette knives, and silky brushes, Siegel is able to create a textured canvas that brings the viewer into this world of enveloping buds, blossoms, and twisting, turning growth.
“Living in California,” Siegel says, “I am also inspired by the bright sunlight and verdant landscape whose colors inform my bright paintings. My color palette is what initially identifies my style. Layer upon layer of bright pinks, blues, and orange explode on the surface to make up the foundation of my paintings. I paint purple, white, yellow clusters, organic petal shapes, and even more strokes over the initial collaged layers. I love the process of painting by exploring the medium and constantly challenging myself.”
Maura spends her days painting models, interiors, and roaming the Bay Area for landscapes to paint. Working only from life, her portraits are done over three 4-hour sittings. Her landscapes, typically with three or four visits to the same spot, begin with a grisaille and are followed the next days with multiple layers of translucent paint. Carta reveals, “I want my paintings to glow. Light reflects back from each layer of paint, so though my method is slow, the results are luminous. Working from life can be challenging - the light is always shifting, the model is never in the exact spot as the previous sitting, and someone always drives off in the car I just started painting. But it’s worth it when, on occasion, it all comes together, and I have created another world.”