It’s been a busy few weeks in Rome. It seems as if every night there are art exhibitions, museums openings and parties. My friend Cathryn captured most of the recent events in her blog for Artforum, including the much anticipated opening of MAXXI. But the show I was most excited about opened this past Tuesday : Sienna Reid.
Full disclosure: Sienna is one of my best friends and a neighbor. (but most of you already know that.) That said, I have a lot of friends who are artists but I can’t say that I own five of their paintings. I am a huge fan of Sienna’s and have been from the first time I saw her work.
Sienna is American and has been living in Rome for ten years. She is from Seattle and has been painting for over 25 years. Her work is figurative, mostly in oil and very much inspired by the world around her. Over the last few years she has specialized in portraits (I commissioned her to paint Sophie, Emma and Pico).
One of my favorite paintings by Sienna is a small portrait of a cow which hangs in my kitchen. And when I say portrait, I mean portrait. The cow is very much a specific animal, with a huge presence that belies the small scale of the painting itself. Sienna began painting cows in 2000 and her current show pairs some of her most recent cows with a relatively new subject: nuns.
The show’s title in Italian is Mucche & Monache, which makes it sound sort of funny, sort of ironic. But the show is neither. Instead it is one of the most seriously introspective and moving group of portraits I have seen in a long time. While some of the paintings - especially the nuns - seem almost abstract in their lack of facial details, their body language and relationship to one another speaks loudly.
But what I love, love, love in so many of the works is Sienna’s expert and lush treatment of surface. A seemingly white hide is a kaleidoscope of colors. The drape of a veil is a sea of blues.
The show remains up until June 29.
Galleria Monty & Co.
Via Madonna dei Monti 69
Tuesday - Saturday 16:00 to 20:00 and by appointment.
328 7623 389 or 338 3117 822