Austin Museum of Art

Austin, TX

512.495.9224 Downtown - 512.458-8191 Laguna Gloria


Queen of My Room: A Survey of Work by Julie Speed, 1989-1999

June 26 - August 22,1999


Queen of My Room: A Survey of Work by Julie Speed, 1989-1999 is the first solo museum exhibition for Julie Speed, the Austin-based artist known for her exquisitely rendered, dream-like narratives inhabited by such figures as clerics, forlorn young women, and threatening animals.

In the Surrealist tradition, Speed creates dislocated or de-contextualized arenas, where simple objects and colors acquire an elusive, enigmatic significance. Her intimately scaled panels painted in a technique drawn from northern Renaissance art portray imaginary worlds where spectators are compelled to confront their own desires and demons called "glimpse pictures." To bring these images to life, Speed has used color and its art historical resonances to make skillful commentary on the subjects she portrays. Hues associated with depictions of religious figures or the nobility in European portraiture are given new meaning when reinterpreted through Speed's irony and double-edged humor. Speed's narratives derive their power from the uneasy recognition the viewer experiences when faced with images invested with the peculiar intimacy of the subconscious mind.

Born in Chicago in 1951, Julie Speed is largely a self-trained artist. She has had a wide and varied career. As Speed has written, "In Connecticut we lived on a farm, in a yurt and in a carnival tent ... In Massachusetts I trained race horses. In California I starved. In Nova Scotia I worked in a sawmill, cleared land, broke horses and farmed." In 1978, she moved to Austin, Texas, where she began to seriously devote herself to making art. Since the early 1980s her work has appeared in numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout Texas, as well as in Santa Fe, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York.

Queen of My Room has been curated by Elizabeth Ferrer, Executive Director of the Austin Museum of Art. It will contain some forty paintings, works on paper, and mixed-media objects produced by Speed in the last decade, drawn from private and public collections. Among these works will be several that the artist has created in 1998 and 1999 specifically for the show. The exhibition is accompanied by an 84-page catalogue with color illustrations, an interview with Julie Speed by Elizabeth Ferrer, an exhibition checklist, and the artist's biography.

Queen of My Room will travel in 1999 and 2000 to The Dallas Visual Art Center, The Galveston Arts Center, and the South Texas Institute for the Arts, Corpus Christi.

Funding for the Queen of My Room exhibition and catalogue is made possible by Caroline R. Alexander, Chuy's Restaurant, Tim and Nancy Hanley, Louise S. O'Connor, and The Smothers Foundation.

Images from top to bottom: Queen of My Room III, 1998, oil on board, 22 x 22 inches; Feeding the Tiger, 1996, oil on board, 20 x 16 inches; Setting the World on Fire, 1997, oil on board, 24 x 30 inches; The Observer, 1992, oil on linen with lead, steel and copper, 15 1/2 x 17 inches; Milkweed, 1996-97, oil on board, 15 x 12 inches; Playing for the Monkey, 1998, oil on board, 22 x 30 inches.

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