Winston Wächter Fine Art, New York is pleased to present “Shikaku” Sense of Sight, an exhibition of new works on paper by Julie Speidel. Continuing her practice of hand-rubbed oil on Japanese paper, Speidel creates compositions of large vibrant shapes that explore the simplicity of two-dimensional art and its power to evoke calm, balance, and mystery.
“Shikaku” is the Japanese translation for the “sense of sight” and provides the inspiration for this most recent body of work. After forty years working with her hands as a sculptor of pieces at a substantial and often grand scale, Speidel’s artistic vision has evolved metaphorically with the ever-present passage of time. Entering this stage of life with limited visual acuity, inspiration for her work has transitioned from physically touching the large sculptures before her to an introspective and mindful practice of “seeing” that is meditative, internal and very personal. The intention of these new works is to ease the mind of the viewer and create a freeing experience of “sight” without the struggle to focus. These compositions reflect the artist’s deep appreciation for the Japanese aesthetic and its origins in simple, subtle, unobtrusive forms.
Julie Speidel often looks to the enigmatic art and architecture of prehistoric and indigenous societies and incorporates them within her work. Examples of this include inspirations from sacred carved talismans, Native American totemic art from the Pacific Northwest, and the rings of standing stones at Stonehenge. With proud Irish heritage and dual citizenship, Speidel draws timeless artistic vision from Ireland’s ancient megalithic sites of seemingly impossible creation, sites from which most of the works in the exhibition derive their titles. Many works such as Ballybrennan, consist of vertical arrangements of simple rounded shapes that float in stacks or towers. This evokes both the human figure and the built environment. While reminiscent of paleolithic devotional monuments and the elegant simplicity of Japanese design, Speidel’s works are also distinctly modern. These rhythmic compositions of shapes and colors appear in weightless abstraction, and speak to the transcendence of light, time, and space.
Julie Speidel has been exhibited widely and her works are included in many prestigious private and public collections in the U.S. and abroad, including the Tacoma Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, three United States Embassies, the Oracle Collection, the Boeing Collection and the Nordstrom Collection. Her work has been featured in Architectural Digest and Seattle Times, among others. Julie Speidel currently lives and works in Seattle, Washington.