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February 11, 2016

UMS Artist in Residence Update: New Paintings by Siobhan McBride

By Siobhan McBride

Editor’s note: Siobhan McBride is a visual artist and one of our 2015-2016 artists in residence. As part of this program, artists in residence attend UMS performances to inspire new thinking and creative work within their own art forms. Siobhan attended A Christmas Carol, by the National Theatre of Scotland. Below is her response to the performance.

Here are a couple of paintings I’ve been working on recently:

Photos: New painting by Siobhan McBride.

I’ve always felt more comfortable in enclosed spaces. I prefer my back to the wall in restaurants, booths rather than tables, sleeping bags, attic spaces, small groves of trees, the geometry of a clam shell. A trapped elevator scenario causes me no grief.

In a large studio I once occupied, I built a cave out of paper mache and chicken wire, simply furnished with a busted short-legged upholstered chair. I used it as a panic room. A place to curl up, read, obsessively playback unfortunate social interactions, or nap. A space that denied attackers the advantage of surprise. Likewise, the spaces in my paintings tend to feel compressed, close. I like flatness, painted elements pressed forward, tectonically still, or shallowly shuffling like playing cards.

The hockey painting is unfinished. It has a distinctly differently space than many of my other paintings, perhaps influenced by recently seeing a number of performances on stages at Hill Auditorium and the Power Center as part of the UMS residency. The sense of enclosure is present in the painting, but more vaguely so.

I’ve always been fond of creating scenes from a seemingly hidden vantage point, like a hunting blind, a battlement, seeing without the burden of being seen. A different kind of enclosure, that is apart from the scene rather than within it.

christmas carol production
Photo: Scene from A Christmas Carol. Photo courtesy of the artists.

In December, I saw A Christmas Carol performed by the National Theatre of Scotland. The set was small and tight (my ideal viewing situation!) and the presence of haze allowed me to literally disappear in a puff of smoke while I enjoyed some amazing, often alarming puppets and the details of their incredible set.

Interested in more? Follow the adventures and process of other UMS Artists in Residence.


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.
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