Joe W. Speier
In Joe W. Speier’s first exhibition at King’s Leap, craft-store materials and drawings found online converge in gestural and figurative paintings that blur the lines between the digital and the analog and complicate definitions of authorship and artistry. The eight new works take account of the push and pull between seemingly opposing elements. Beyond his vernacular material—ballpoint pen, acrylic, glitter, flocking, and metal microbeads feature in the exhibition—Speier instantiates a dialogue through text and imagery.
In Shamey Poo (2021) [pictured], for example, words such as “GUILTY,” “SHAME,” and “ALONE” are stitched across the canvas. Their beaded forms have the quality of desperate journal writing: one can imagine that the capitalized slashing forms are drawn by a frenzied hand, a visual effect which communicates volume and intensity. Beneath it all, a lone suited figure under an umbrella traverses the bottom corner of the painting, seemingly exiting the canvas. The word “HATE” is nearly obscured by the darkness of the figure’s suit. It’s not the painting’s only elision: Speier further intervenes into the surface with glittering teal paint that drips and smears across the canvas, effacing, in part, the phrase at the bottom of the painting that asks “HOW CAN INNOCENCE BE GUILTY.”
Joe W. Speier, Shamey Poo, 2021. Ballpoint pen, acrylic medium, glitter, and metal microbeads, 60 x 48 inches.