This piece honors the Christian mathematician Bernhard Reimann. The nail represents Christ's crucifixion which bore the full weight of man's Fall and selfishness. The apple points to the implicit self-centeredness of man which led to the Fall and to all of our failing to love our neighbors as ourselves. The shape of the apple which curves in on itself points to the curvature of the selfish soul which looks inward always choosing one's own interest over their neighbors. It is the full weight of man's selfishness that was borne by Jesus.
Perhaps one of the most deeply autobiographical of Saiers’s paintings, Kabul recalls his childhood memory of peeking from behind a mattress – pressed against windows for protection from shattering glass during wartime in Afghanistan – to view the frightening carnage occurring on the other side.
However, the scene revealed to us beyond the mattress is an imagined, storybook-like view composed of symbolic elements that represent the causes and effects of war, as well as a child’s escape of such terror through fairy tales.
Here, Saiers imagines a twist on the Wizard of Oz: In his version, the storm that carried Dorothy’s house into Oz was in fact an effect of the fall of Icarus, whose plummet to Earth stirred such intense, pressurized winds that they formed a tornado. When the house fell on the Wicked Witch of the East, Humpty Dumpty was in turn so startled that he too fell to the ground. Here Saiers positions gravity as a symbol of evil – the fall of man. This cause-and-effect series – begun when Icarus dared to fly too close to the sun – is an allegory for the way a war begins: At first as a small act of hubris, but soon a cacophony of disastrous outcomes. The picture’s more personal components humanize the allegory, such as a spilled bottle of 7UP, which Saiers and his family often drank during wartime when unable to boil water.
Finally and most confounding, hidden in mathematical abstraction, is pictured one of the epic battles in history.
AND A PANIC ENSUES
And a Panic Ensues focuses on the Panic of 1907. The phrase "Knicks get blown out" references the collapse of the Knickerbocker Trust which led to this crisis. Alchemy is the process of taking a base metal like copper and transforming it into gold. The phrase “alchemy fails” points to one of this event’s central figures, F Augustus Heinze, and his failed attempt to start a short squeeze of a copper company (with the goal of making a substantial profit). The similarity of his name to the family behind Heinz ketchup leads to the final phrase.
THE ORIGINAL ART BASEL
This piece portrays the Basel Problem of mathematics in abstraction. The piece incorporates many aspects of this important mathematical problem including its answer (or at least a corollary) and its relationship to the prime numbers. In more literal fashion the area of the circles portrayed relates to the first 15 terms of its expansion.