2012 Curator’s Choice

Patrick Siler Mural

May 17-July 20, 2012
Reception: Monday, July 16, 4:00-5:30 pm, Pine Street Plaza, Downtown Pullman

The Washington State University Museum of Art is proud to share the mural art of Patrick Siler in the upcoming exhibition Curator’s Choice: Patrick Siler Mural, May 17-July 20, 2012.  In addition, a downtown reception will be held in the Pine Street Plaza adjacent to Thomas Hammer Coffee on Monday, July 16, 4:00-5:30 pm.  Admission to the museum is always free.

Patrick Siler’s “regular folks” become anything but regular in his paintings. Good old boys, beer drinkers, housewives and young punks are just a few of the many characters Siler uses to create his expressive perceptions of the human condition. His gritty depictions of the activities of day-to-day life are tempered with anxiety, humor and nostalgic reverence.  At times creating a crossroad where dark and sinister intersects with cool and clever, Siler always manages to imply a dynamic human-interest story. If you were to ask the artist however, he would tell you that the narrative is secondary to the formal elements of his work. Using space, composition, color and line to create tension and interest, Siler emphasizes the unique shapes before him with a style that reflects a range of influences from East Asian sumi ink artists to German Expressionists and comic book characters such as Dick Tracy and Krazy Kat. His style is fermented by a prolific work ethic and genuine ability to synthesize what he sees – attributes Siler has instilled in students at WSU from 1973-2005.

While his recent mural holds a prominent position in downtown Pullman and he completes the third and final panel this summer, the Museum of Art/WSU will present an exhibition of the extensive work that goes into the murals. We will showcase the sketches and finished drawings in the museum, and hope that this experience will offer students and visitors an insight into Pat Siler’s distinctive vision and creative process.

Siler was born in 1939 in Spokane, Washington, and spent most of his childhood in western Washington. He earned his undergraduate degree from WSU in 1961 and his Masters from the University of California in 1963. During his academic training, Siler worked in a non-representational, abstract expressionist manner. Being unable to choose between drawing and ceramics, Siler resolved his conflict by marrying the two processes. He dug into the surface of the clay or pulled cut-out stencils from fresh layers of glazes to reveal the layers beneath. Although his current work involves drawings on gesso and carved wooden frames, the techniques that he mastered in his early ceramic works, drawings and paintings are clearly evident.

Patrick Siler has been a pillar in the foundation of the Department of Fine Arts curriculum and now, through these public murals, will remain an ongoing inspiration to our community.