Siso was born in Madrid in 1962 and raised between Venezuela, Trinidad, and Miami. He and his family moved to Southern California when Siso was in his early 20s. His tropical landscapes and seascapes reflect the geographies of his past and are reminiscent of Venezuelan folk painter Hercilia Ilarreta. Both employ rich patterns and incorporate people into their panoramas to make meaningful connections between culture, memory, and the environment.
Mindful reflection is visual storytelling that shapes personal and collective meaning. Siso titles his artworks in a mix of Spanish and English, signifying the celebrated and integral complexities of his life in Los Angeles County. Working from family portraits, his own reference photographs, and memory, his colorful compositions imagining his present home in Upland are rendered in either acrylic, pastel, pencil, or watercolor.
Like Vincent Van Gogh, Vicente Siso is drawn to imagery that structures place. He masterfully works across subject matter, generating a prolific series of landscapes, portraits, and still-lifes, including several self-portraits styled as Van Gogh, as well as interpretations of the famous sunflowers in vases. Like the other Vincent, Vicente Siso depicts the people in his life with serenity and a delicacy that signifies the importance of these relationships in forming his expressive visual language.
Subject plays an outsized role in Siso’s work, particularly his exhaustive investigation of the Titanic. Depicted in both two and three dimensions, Siso’s detailed Titanic works demonstrate his range of interests and skill across media. Serious and fun at once, his ceramic flagship is a tour de force, featuring more than 200 individual ceramic pieces of lifeboats, oars, and passenger figurines. The sculptural scene appears playful at first glance, but Siso’s Titanic depicts overturned lifeboats, people “in the water,” and an exaggerated anchor relaying the profound gravity of the real-life historical event.
Featuring works that vary in influence and media, Memories of the Land & Water makes evident Siso’s dedication to his practice. The show opens on Saturday, January 13, with a reception from 6-8 pm. The exhibition is on view through Sunday, March 3, 2024.