Our cover contest for the upcoming “Empowered” issue has concluded and we are thrilled to announce that “Shrine” by Joan Burger Siem will be the beautiful new cover and face of Synkroniciti for the next three months. In traditional Synkroniciti fashion, “Shrine” gives us a rich iconography to unpack. It recalls the surrealist masters de Chirico and Magritte, but with an undeniably female gaze unflinchingly, and quite literally, meeting us and staring us down. What are we to make of this scene, this shrine? A chess board pins a female body, in the style of classical statuary, into a beautified nook in the wall and we wonder about the dead serious game for female autonomy which has raged for centuries. A stone lies below, perhaps a symbol of the self, gleaming but grounded in dark, mossy earth. We see two columns, not quite matching, the one in the light being larger, while the one in the dark is smaller, perhaps indicative of an imbalance in yin and yang. There is even a musical fanfare here. Herein lies a conundrum: how do we celebrate femininity without restraining or dehumanizing it? Art is full of images which simultaneously adore and objectify the human body–is it possible to have one element without the other?
Those are my musings on “Shrine,” but I am quite sure you have your own. That is the beauty of synchronicity, that its meaning is different for each us, and yet no less valid.
Joan Burger Siem finished her MFA (Painting) in California and moved to Europe where her paintings are included in many official collections. Now living in Houston, she exhibits closer to home, including exhibitions at The ARC Gallery, Chicago, Brownsville Art Museum, TX and Vignette Art Fair Dallas.
What unifies the painting process for her is the mood, the psychological space the work is intended to occupy. This gives direction to the visual problem solving, which could take unexpected paths. She works with great affection for the solutions that come about through judgement, as well as accepting those arriving as gifts. It’s a balance between intent and leaving space for a little magic. This way the work can go beyond the original intent, and start to “give back. ” “That’s when I know I’m not flying solo.”
Congratulations, Joan, and welcome!