Justin Siegel’s abstract paintings at first glance appear to be intuitive and gestural, such as we expect in abstract painting. We anticipate balanced organic shapes and beautiful color washes. But at second glance or by the next painting the viewer experiences a fragmented randomness. Siegel’s work sometimes settles into rhythmic shapes, and at other times it incorporates washes of colors that seem to battle each other and at yet other times flow. Shapes that float or collide, not apparent in the appearance of any one painting, come to light when multiple paintings are viewed. Siegel does not create his paintings in the usual abstract manner. His paintings come about through the luck of the draw – the lottery draw, to be more precise.  Siegel has created a set of 60 “rules” dictating how a painting is to be executed. The rules cover where to paint, how to apply the paint, even for how long. The lottery numbers of the day the painting is started determine which six rules are applied to that painting. These rules are very specific, for example, “mix 2 colors with eyes closed, paint with eyes closed for 30 sec.” Or, “spray paint from behind canvas, timed application (10sec).” The results of this approach are quite unexpected. Beyond the parameters of the rules themselves, Siegel’s conceptual abstractions follow no aesthetic will. Pure chance determines what they look like. There is a wonderful fatefulness to these paintings. They are meant to be.

Delia Cabral