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John Sideli Show Review in Portland Press Herald

October 20, 2011

On Sunday, October 9th, the Maine Sunday Telegram's reviewer Phil Isaacson wrote about John Sideli's current show The Sum of the Parts, featured at the Boothbay Harbor gallery.  Here's what Phil writes:



There is a boundary between cleverness and art. This is often seen in what was once (and perhaps still is) called assemblage. Simply put, it means a bringing together of articles that are not in themselves objects of art and creating a work of art from them. Skillful people often approach the boundary, but most don't make it across.

For the work of an artist that transcends cleverness, see "John Sideli, The Sum of the Parts" at Gleason Fine Art in Boothbay Harbor. Sideli has shown in Maine before, but never with such brio and finesse.

There is nothing tentative in his pieces; they join as aesthetic destiny intended them to do. Born to lives of smaller virtue, they, at the hand of Sideli, escape from an inglorious end to gather joyfully on the walls of the cognoscenti.

Here, cleverness does not reign. Here, pieces of intrinsic virtue, but intended for other performances, accept the obligation of carrying forward under new titles and with new companions. As I said, it's not cleverness; it's the destiny of a lucky few.

I note "Temperature Rising," a somewhat Rube Goldberg-ish framed composition of a tiny rusted model of a wrecker. The model sits atop a gold ball supported by a tapered shaft painted in three colors, offset by a suspended clock face and a globe and by assorted small balls.

It's terrific, as is "Stencils," a typographic achievement, and "Track One," from the glorious days of railroading.

See it. It doesn't get any better.

John Sideli Humble Lineage


Sideli's show runs through October 29th--be sure to stop by before then.

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