In the end, all painting is abstract. Even the most realistic of paintings needs a well devised compositional abstraction beneath its finely rendered surface. Just as poetry refines and simplifies, so abstraction condenses thought, emotion, and visual image into a set of rhythms, marks, colors, and balance. There is not only a visual sense, but also a felt sense when the poem is finished, the thought condensed, the experience suggested, but not explained.
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Sandra Speidel begins with an infallible grasp of the complexity and beauty of human anatomy, sometimes evidenced directly with a recognizable figure such as a swimmer, a man traveling through an airport, or a dancer, and other times with the fleeting capture of a poised head, a curved arm or hands in motion. She expands with colors which demand reaction to a mood or mindset, sometimes wondrous light evoking ethereal dreams, other times darker palettes hinting at doubt, somber reflection or simply momentary indecision. Nothing in her work is static nor easily categorized, though she obviously employs the painter’s tools of contrast, balance and form in what can be loosely termed figurative art. She does not simply paint but rather captures the impermanence of life fully lived and constantly evolving.
Diane Weddington has been an art critic for newspapers in the Bay Area for 30 years. She presently writes commentaries for Medium.