In Boom, his first solo show at Blackfish Gallery, Charles Siegfried takes as his starting point a set of declassified U.S. defense department documents. The Checo Report—more commonly known as ‘Igloo White’—details a government-sponsored communications surveillance system, designed to create a virtual fence between North and South Vietnam in Southeast Asia during the Vietnam War. Siegfried spins the text and images in the Report into paintings and installations that comment on the U.S.’s current pervasive surveillance drone programs.
Working in acrylic paint on paper, glass, and laser jet prints, Siegfried conjures tents, warplanes and tanks, awash in an apocalyptic, abstract landscape of improbably pleasant colors. At the heart of his art practice is an examination of the raw materials Americans consume, the resources we crave and the means (often violent) by which we attain these things. The peppy palette, Siegfried says, points to his central concern: Americans’ acceptance of continual war, a loss of privacy, and how these issues affect freedom(s).