1933 - 2018
Naomi Siegmann Gassner 10/12/33-2/28/18 – born in NY, she was the 2nd of three daughters, Annette the eldest, and Caroline, the youngest. In 1955 she married Henry Siegmann, and had 2 children with him: Johanna and Robert. The family moved to Mexico in 1960, first to Muzquiz - a small town in the northern state of Coahuila - where she discovered her artistic abilities. Beginning with painting, and quickly moving to clay sculpting, she was self-taught until the family moved to Mexico City. First studying with Tosia Malamud, and then with Enrique Miralda, she created pieces in stone and bronze, eventually learning to carve wood. She became known for depicting everyday objects outside their normal contexts.
Naomi and Henry traveled extensively, and this cultural broadening informed Naomi's artistic vision. She became a highly recognized sculptor in the Mexican art world, with pieces in the permanent collection of several museums in the U.S. and Mexico, including the Museum of Modern Art in Mexico. Her love for wood led her to become a passionate environmentalist, specifically focused on deforestation. Much of her later shows and pieces were focused on, and inspired by, trees and other natural objects. She worked with wood for about twenty years before moving onto other materials, including recycled ones, in part due to her concerns for the environment. One of her last projects was a black garden made completely from recycled tire inner tubes.
Her career was marked by solo and group shows in Mexico, the United States, and Europe. She was commissioned to create monumental works in Mexico and the United States, and her work was recognized by a membership in the Salón de la Plástica Mexicana.
From 2001 to 2006, she organized and coordinated an artistic and ecological project called El Bosque/The Forest in four cities in Mexico and four in the United States. This project was a collaboration with fourteen other sculptors to create trees from any material other than wood, to promote forestation.
In 2010 she won Puertas Caminos de la Justicia 200 Años of the Supreme Court of Justice of the Nation. At the time of her death she was participating in two distinguished shows - one in Monterrey, and one at the Federico Silva Museum in San Luis Potosi.
Henry died in 1986, but she remained in Mexico City until her death from complications from bronchitis. She is survived by her children.
Published in New York Times from Mar. 8 to Mar. 9, 2018.