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September 28, 2015

UMS Artists in Residence: Meet Siobhan McBride


Editor’s note: UMS is in the second season of its Artists in “Residence” program. Five residents from across disciplines take residence at our performances throughout our season. We’ll profile each resident here on UMS Lobby.

Siobhan McBride was born in Seoul, South Korea and currently lives in Ann Arbor. She received her MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania in 2005. She was an artist in residence at Yaddo, Jentel, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Workspace Program, Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her work has been exhibited at NURTUREart, the Pelham Art Center, Eight Modern, and this past winter at Miami Project with DC Moore.

siobhanUMS: Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.

Siobhan McBride: I was born in South Korea, Seoul (probably) and came to the US when I was six months. At that time, I was described as “happy in the bath” and that, I suppose, is still true. I always enjoyed creating pictures and writing stories and continued to do both throughout school. My love of painting eventually won out. I wanted to find something I could do for my entire life, and never reach the end of it. For me, it’s painting.

UMS: Can you tell us a little about your creative process? Where can we find you working on your art?

SM: I work in gouache, opaque watercolor, on a relatively small scale. I use a lot of tape to create edges. I often cut out shapes with a blade, remove the tape, and paint into that negative space. The tape becomes a kind of brush, a tool for making a specific mark. The painting evolves by layering these shapes so that the surface rises like a topographical map.

I want the paintings to feel intimate, familiar, and somewhat strange. The scenes remind me of fragments of movies, novels, or things caught in the corner of my eye. I am interested in the idea of being plagued by certain images or snippets of memory, getting hung up on them, and not knowing why.

I have a studio in the house.

UMS: What inspires your art? Can you tell us about something you came across lately (writing, video, article, piece of art) that we should check out too?

SM: My art is inspired by strong feelings, weird memories, and strange color situations.

Four things…

A friend of mine, Jeremy Coulliard, had a show at YOUNGWORLD in Detroit, Believes in Reincarnation Hates hugs. It was populated by androgynous humanoids, monster lovers, penguins, and knick knacks. An animation projected on a large wall pulls you through a romantic, fantastical, pink hued landscape. In the landscape, among other things and messages, there is a romance between an extraterrestrial and a sea creature; they embrace in a gentle river. It was a very moving experience.

I just read Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro and loved it.

I am slightly obsessed with the song Forever Dolphin Love by Connan Mockasin.

This summer on the way up north, we stopped at Call of the Wild, a natural history museum in Gaylord, MI. They have awesome dioramas with a large number of taxidermy animals. The painted backdrops aren’t always convincingly trompe-l’œil and they’re often more interesting because of it. Definitely worth the seven dollars.

UMS: Are you engaged with the local arts community? Tell us about groups or events that we should know about.

SM: I moved to Ann Arbor fairly recently, so no, not yet…

UMS: Which performances are you most excited about this season and why?

SM: Leif Ove Andsnes on the piano. I listened to some of his playing and found it very lovely. There is something intimate about a single piano leading you down a path. I’m also excited about Young Jean Lee Theater Company’s Straight White Men. I saw Untitled Feminist Show at the New Museum in New York and thought it was fantastic.

UMS: Anything else you’d like to say?

SM: I am thrilled to be participating in this residency! Oh, man, I love dogs.

Interested in more? Watch for more artist profiles on UMS Lobby throughout this week.