James Siena

One of the most famous living abstract artists, James Siena is best known for the intricate geometric abstractions that he creates freehand by imposing upon himself a set of "rules" that he calls "visual algorithms." Beginning with a basic unit—a shape or a set of lines—he allows these algorithms, which are essentially predetermined permutations, to guide the progression of each work. The resulting drawing or painting is a pattern that is not only visually complex, but also logical and formulaic. "They're procedures," Siena says of the rules governing his paintings. "Each painting has to do with carrying out a procedure, no matter how simple. It's the task of making it physical." Though rigorously executed and highly procedural, Siena's abstract compositions transcend geometry, producing psychological, and some might even say meditative or spiritual, effects.