ARTIST OF THE MONTH - April 2002
Louise Seiler: Between the Wild and the
by Sydney Francis
the fall of 2001,1 went on search through shops and galleries in
Moab to seek out new artists for the Artist of the Month
article. In my travels, I discovered these very dramatic and energized
painted gourds, at the Overlook Gallery, which showed wild horses,
lizards and coyotes. So I tracked down the creator of these fine
gourds, who turned out to be Louise Seiler.
In the course of our interview, Seiler did not share much detail
about her artwork, except that she is a painter. However, we had
an intimate conversation about art and family, the rhythm and flow
of creativity, and the joys and sorrows of being an artist.
I desperately wanted to know what compelled her to the mustang and
coyote imagery, such as on her gourds. What was it that moved her
to create these images? But she said she wanted keep the muse and
inspiration a mystery; and thus, I am left to infer what I may about
her art for the sake of the article.
of Seilers paintings that I have seen are of horses, which
I find to be some of her most compelling figures. In spending considerable
time with horses, she has the ability to intimately render the details,
anatomy, and characteristics of a horse. There is a secret element,
however, rendered in her horse images, which wordlessly expresses
the love, fascination, mystery and power that the horse
brings to her world. This secret element is especially obvious her
cupboard panel. In the cupboard panel the
exaggerated movement and line quality of the horses and their surroundings
are true to the dramatic shape and sensual reality of this red-rock
and horse image. The vibrant colors, associated with the southwestern
palette, also lend themselves to the special magic that is evident
in this image.
On an interpersonal level, Seiler struck me as warm, friendly, brave,
engaging, and a touch eccentric in the most wonderful way. She draws
upon an internal source of strength, which has allowed her to cope
gracefully with family tragedy. In 1996, her 21 year-old son was
in an accident that rendered him a paraplegic. But strong and fearless
like his mother, he has continued to be quite physically active
and was involved the 2002 Paralympics.
lives here alone in Moab from March to September and then returns
to her family for the winter months in Salt Lake City. Her Moab
life constitutes her artistic productivity. Seiler claimed that
Moab is her muse, as the environment, outdoors, vistas, and energy
are her sources of inspiration. She finds the community of Moab
equally stimulating, as there is a considerable community of artists,
who are accessible and come from a wide range of artistic disciplines.
Seiler is steeped in color by environment and surroundings. The
walls of her studio/living room express a palette of warm reds and
oranges. The East view of her studio window faces the long mesa,
which meets Spanish Valley below the La Sals. Her Moab residence
is both studio and barn, a very extraordinary living space with
a great deal of emphasis on the garden. The actual home is somewhat
of a segway or intermediary space between the garden and the horse
stable. Her art immediately reflects this unique atmosphere. The
division between tamed garden and wild horses is synthesized in
the studio, which is physically, psychically and spiritually at
center of the Seiler universe.
the end of the interview, Seiler did tell me that orange is her
favorite color and she likes her horses wild. In addition, I came
away with a greater appreciation of her artistic process, a reverence
for the vibrancy, richness, and simplicity of her life, and a rekindled
gratitude for the wealth of creative talent we have here in Moab.
Seiler will be having a show of her work in April with local painter
Becky Stengel at the Moonflower Market located at 39 East 100 North.
The artists reception will be on Saturday, April 13th, from
6 to 9 p.m. in coordination with the April ArtWalk (see ArtWalk
Happenings for further details). Seiler also has hand-painted,
home grown gourds (from her garden) at the Overlook Gallery at 83
E. Center St.