by Laura Bien
Legendary local folkie Dick Siegel stops before a head shot of a 1950s-era robot. Its bolts-for-ears, grille teeth, and raised arm provoke giggles. Siegel raises his own arm: "Hail!"
It's Marvelous Mike, a yellow robot-bulldozer combo that Siegel played with as a child until it broke. "But then I found it on eBay!" says Siegel. "So I bought three!" two of which are reverently arrayed on a cabinet in his home.
Siegel's show of twenty-seven large-scale computer-generated prints similarly evokes the past. He's been making images for a dozen years, and his love of creating art was already evident in the summer of his senior year in college, when his mom fretted that he should get a job while he happily drew geraniums. Siegel traces his love of the visual to his architect-designed childhood home: "As a kid, my earliest heroes were Picasso and Miró."
The vivid colors in those masters' works glow from Siegel's Green Arrows, Blue Traveler. Against a background of green flames snaking in from the edges floats a blue eyelike disc with a red "iris." "I think of it as a friendly traveler, a sort of strange environment," says Siegel.
Many works are manipulated images of antique toys pictured on 1950s-era bubble gum collector cards. One cartoonish blowup of the hood of a green Hudson so charmed a neighbor that she bought it on the spot.
Another two-part work shows a silver toy VW van (right). As with Marvelous Mike, Siegel placed it directly on his scanner. The resulting images show the toy in focus with its edges blurring into a black background. Suspended in darkness, the 1960s icon suggests a loss of innocence, with its wear and flaked paint.
Innocent fun pervades Jupiter C, an altered representation of a dad and son about to launch a model rocket. Against a mottled multicolored background, the purply-blue silhouette of dad, son, and rocket actually shows "the first ICBM missile," says Siegel.
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