Hirschl & Adler is pleased to announce our first exhibition of works by Maine-based contemporary artist John Sideli (b. 1945). Opening Thursday, September 19, the show will feature more than thirty free-standing or wall-hung assemblages, each revealing Sideli’s unique eye for combining forms, colors and textures. Not-easily-found objects are the artist’s stock-in-trade. He repurposes obsolete tools, bell jars, mannequins, vintage toys, flags, skulls, billiard balls and bird’s wings in novel, unexpected ways. The resulting cabinet of curiosities is at times provocative, whimsical, oddly wondrous and delightfully charming.
John Sideli’s artistic path began auspiciously in 1968, when he and his wife served as caretakers for the Roxbury, Connecticut, property of the famed American sculptor, Alexander Calder, who at that time spent nearly all of his time at his home in France. The Sidelis spent two years minding Calder’s estate, living rent-free in a cottage, and John availing himself of one of Calder’s studios. During this time on the Calder estate, Sideli took an interest in found objects, which he collected assiduously. Sideli began collecting antiques, reselling some items here and there to eke out a meager living. He went on to become a successful antiques dealer.
Inspired by Calder’s predilection for making artworks out of various odds and ends he found in his studio, Sideli combined his own discoveries into assemblages. Sideli explains: “I realized why I had been collecting these fragments, bits, and oddities. I was amazed by the way they would take on a new meaning when juxtaposed in different contexts; they would acquire a kind of narrative aspect and even evoke a sacred mood. In a very short time I became a champion of the art of everyday objects.”
Sideli’s assemblages of disparate found objects share broad family resemblances with the works of Marcel Duchamp, Varujan Boghosian, Joseph Cornell, and Robert Rauschenberg. Sideli describes his working process: “As with chemical compounds, there is a kind of alchemy that takes place when objects are placed in proximity to one another. It is a process of trial and error, and because I do not like to create surfaces myself, waiting to find the right object and the right combination can sometimes take years, but I do find that it is possible to unlock the spirit in matter. That is what challenges and excites me.”
John Sideli: Assemblages opens on Thursday, September 19 and runs through Saturday, October 19, 2013. Located in the landmark Crown Building at the corner of 57th Street and Fifth Avenue, Hirschl & Adler is open Tuesday through Friday, from 9:30 am to 5:15 pm, and Saturdays from 9:30 am to 4:45 pm.
For additional information or images, please contact Tom Parker at 212-535-8810 (phone) / 212-772-7237 (fax), or by email at TomP@HirschlAndAdler.com. Please visit our website at www.HirschlAndAdler.com for an online preview of the exhibition.