Caldwell Snyder presents “Open Boundaries” an exhibition of recent works by Washigton- based artist Julie Speidel. Julie Speidel’s sculptures engage an extraordinary array of cultural influences, reaching back through antiquity to the stone- and bronze-age peoples of Europe, the early Buddhists of China, the indigenous tribes of her native Pacific Northwest, and on into twentieth-century modernism. Depending on our own spheres of knowledge, we may find in her work echoes of the British Isles’ megalithic stone structures, Cycladic Greek fertility figures, Native American totem poles, and dozens of other iconic cultural forms, some universally recognized, others buried by history. At the same time, her work is strongly linked to that of modernists like Henry Moore and Picasso, who were likewise enormously influenced by the language of antiquity and sought to reinterpret it through a contemporary lens.
Speidel often works at the intersection between figuration and abstraction, suggesting the human form though combinations of elegantly simple shapes. At times, her sculptures appear to diverge from the figure altogether, but they often preserve the basic components of bodies: circles and ovals evocative of heads, vertical forms echoing limbs. On the other hand, they seem inextricably linked to the natural world, their forms equally influenced by boulders and trees. It’s a dichotomy that, at its core, taps directly into the intimate connection ancient people felt with the earth.
Julie Speidel was born and raised in Washington, where she attended the University of Washington in Seattle, and later completed graduate studies at the Cornish Institute. Her work is included in many private and public collections, including the Amazon Doppler Building, the Bellevue Art Museum, and Tacoma Art Museum.