Trending
MOST READ
New Sensation: SA’s Austin Mahone and teen pop superstardom

New Sensation: SA’s Austin Mahone and teen pop superstardom

Music: Like the bulk of Austin Mahone’s Instagram account, this one’s a selfie. In a white tank top, hair coifed up real big, Mahone arranges his facial... By Matt Stieb 7/22/2014
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Brunch

Best Brunch

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Best Thai Food

Best Thai Food

Best of SA 2012: Tucked off Blanco Road in a bland shopping strip lies a tasty secret that has been keeping SA foodies smiling for over a decade. Once you pass through the rough exterior, you'll... 4/25/2012
Best Food Truck

Best Food Truck

Best of SA 2012: We love food trucks. But, honestly, there are days when the restaurant-on-wheels trend feels completely out of hand. Frequently operators wheeling out new mobile eateries... 4/25/2012
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

Julie Speed at Southwest School of Art

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Julie Speed, Hostage

Photo: , License: N/A

Jawbone


Edouard Manet’s Olympia sparked scandal at the Paris Salon in 1865, not just for the female figure’s nudity, but also for her direct, confrontational gaze, the frank stare of a prostitute rather than the demureness of Ottoman Empire odalisques painted by male artists since the 16th century. Texas artist Julie Speed inserts a 21st-century woman’s perspective into these objects of the male gaze by erasing the face of a classical odalisque and painting in a scowling, unhappy expression for Suzannah, Annoyed that screams, “Not so fast, buster!”

Frustrated feminism appears to be a theme running through Speed’s show, “Cut-Up,” at the Southwest School of Art, but maybe it’s just my imagination; since her metaphysical puzzles are intended to be like Rorschach tests, open to interpretation. However, the solemn women’s heads in Women’s Studies have hair and blouses patterned with Biblical scenes depicting all the trouble caused by Eve. Speed’s multimedia collages are embellished with her richly detailed illustrations in sepia ink, gouache and watercolor. The temptation is to label her work surrealistic, but her antique-looking, multilayered compositions more closely resemble Renaissance-style allegories.

Speed rarely paints nudes, but they dominate her two largest, strongest painted collages. Subverting the traditional idea of feminine beauty, Speed’s nudes are muscular and scrappy. Fish Supper might be a self-portrait, though it doesn’t resemble the artist, who left Austin to move to Marfa. A woman wearing a half-male mask topped by an elaborate thinking cap — a somewhat androgynous intellectual, perhaps adrift in far West Texas — talks, sips wine and dines on fish before a Spanish-style arched window overlooking a desert with Holstein cows. The Supplicants each have three arms and in the background are dramatic images of petitioners pleading before kings or popes. Does Speed think women, mankind’s eternal supplicants, will have to grow an extra arm before they can be considered equal to binary males, who continue to occupy most of the seats of power?

Wearing men’s clothing, The Pirate Queen is a vintage symbol of feminine freedom, though her eyes have a curious, cubist twist echoed in twin portraits, Hostage and Jawbone, which may capture the moment an angry woman switches from reasonable to irrational. However, unlike Speed’s conflicted women, the serene man in Infallible, possibly a new-crowned pontiff, is oblivious to the civilization crumbling around him.

Speed’s other mixed-media works are whimsical with a scientific bent, such as a moth popping out of a miniature launching device or a Victorian black hole consuming the cosmos, while her delicate, colored drawings of sea creatures, which may also be reproductive cells, have the amorphous forms swimming through Surrealism. “Cut-Up” partly refers to Speed clipping pictures for her collages, but she’s also smart and sometimes smart-alecky, a classy clown who backs up her sardonic social commentary with meticulous craftsmanship.

Julie Speed: Cut-Up

Free
9am-5pm Mon-Sat
11am-4pm Sun
Southwest School of Art
300 Augusta, Navarro Campus
(210) 224-1848
swschool.org
Artist Talk 6:30pm April 11
Through April 28

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • ‘The Other Side’ Tackles the Impossible: Writing about trauma I didn’t take any notes while reading The Other Side because by the time I paused to pick up a pencil, I was already three-quarters of the way through. And for... | 7/23/2014
  • 7 Public Art Projects Worth Searching For You’re likely familiar with the high-profile works of public art on view around downtown San Antonio: the gigantic, red swoop of... | 7/23/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): A report in the prestigious British medical journal BMJ says that almost one percent of young pregnant women in the U.S. claim to be... | 7/23/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus