The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Skip to main content

Important Update

July 10, 2005, to January 8, 2006 |

Lisa Sigal: A House of Many Mansions

Lisa Sigal's paintings explore architecture through both abstraction and illusionistic space. Most recently, Sigal has moved her paintings off the canvas and onto large pieces of sheetrock, cardboard, and wood, or directly onto the gallery walls. Her new wall paintings incorporate existing architectural elements found in the space, like windows and molding, with both trompe l'oeil and her characteristic abstraction. Using common construction materials such as sheetrock and joint compound, the resulting paintings merge with the wall, creating a fresco-like appearance in some areas while exploding into the surrounding space in other areas.

A House of Many Mansions, Sigal's construction of a new site-specific painting will wrap around the Museum's Leir Atrium. Responding to local communities and the particular landscapes found in locations ranging from Danbury to Ridgefield, Sigal's paintings draw the viewer's attention to architectural idiosyncrasies. Contrasting the sprawl and tidiness of a bucolic suburb with the crunch of a city's many staggered and distinct constructions, Sigal will create her own blended neighborhood using her vernacular materials: paint and construction materials that merge with the wall's literal construction while also dissolving them through painted illusion. This bold use of material and form speaks directly of architecture as shelter, but also of the underlying diversity of the users and their desires and needs. Sigal's installation begs the question, what type of community would live in this hybrid space?

Sigal also allows her materials to do what they naturally do-cardboard warps, sheetrock crumbles, and plywood bows-just as they would if a structure were made in haste with cast-off scraps. Components are propped, rather than joined, and the whole effect is crude. The work has a way of making the viewer slightly uncomfortable-we wonder if the structure is secure, or if the plywood is supposed to be bowed. At one moment we are appreciating the way Sigal's beautiful palette looks on frayed sheetrock, and the next we begin to feel as though we are standing before a man sleeping in a card­ board box in the doorway of a church.

Curated by Jessica Hough

Sigal was born in Philadelphia and lives and works in Brooklyn. She has mounted recent solo exhibitions at Frederieke Taylor Gallery and White Columns, both in New York. She recently completed a residency at Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, California, where she did much of the work for this exhibition.