Gail Siptak

Artist Statement

Through the old and honorable tradition of narration, Gail Siptak conjures stories of life overseen and overheard through her whimsical gouache-layered paintings. In her ninth exhibition with koelsch gallery, Siptak continues to convert life experiences of the self and natural world into a whimsical visual narrative.
As a child, Siptak aspired to become a professional entomologist. Growing up in San Fransisco and Palo Alto, California, in the 1960s and 70s, Siptak was surrounded by a multitude of water and terrain. Here, she explored the grandeur of the natural world and found her church in its actuality. Since 1964, Siptak has been painting the world around her and the experiences that come with it.
During the pandemic, Siptak veered away from oil paintings and took on the restorative process of gouache paint. With the combination of handmade paper and gouache, Siptak can densely layer her opaque, chalky paint and closely imitate “body color” or “egg tempura.” Before the invention of oil paint, body color was among the most common painting mediums during the Middles Ages. It consisted of pigments and egg yolk to illuminate manuscripts. With gouache, Siptak creates rich, flat patterns and thick strokes of colors that possess a solid visual summoning. Siptak creates a clear channel between the observer and the observed with her work. “I paint what I see of the human condition – be it animal or object. The glimmer of humor, pathos, and spirit in so much of what I see is the basis of what I paint.”