Residency: Aspirus 05
12 August – 23 September 2013
As an artist and an enthusiast of humankind, Ali Spechler (USA) is inspired by the fundamentals of human relation and assembly – the natural inclination to associate oneself within a group and the ritual and tradition that forms out of human clustering. She is fascinated by the question of what establishes identity? Nationality?, Family? Ethnicity? Morality? Geography? The ways we classify ourselves and establish a moral path, the ways we express atonement, appreciation, loving, longing, melancholy and mourning, fluctuate and alter from group to group, island to island. Rather than focus on the dichotomy that different dogmas and regulations create, Spechler finds beauty in the pattern of practice and believes in the transcendental, pan-cultural thread that connects us all in the human experience, not in in spite of, but because of, those distinguished characteristics of specific custom. She is intent on uncovering and understanding the varied ways in which different doctrines and peoples express the same idea, and, within the world of her studio, forces opposing dogmas into a state of collaboration, without the fearful skepticism that too often creates further divide and segregation.
At first glance, the figuration in the paintings makes them very accessible, but further study reveals allusions to Art History, armies, specific wars, architecturally and historically significant sites throughout time, all of which excavate a personal history with the politics of globalization, colonization, tribal familial clustering. Essentially, it’s about composing figures and situations with potential consequences that form a tension and narrative in the painting.
During her residency at ArtFunkl, Spechler has been open to interact, and be influenced by, her immediate environment and the artistic climate of Manchester. Her practice is aimed at reflecting the diversity of the community but also revealing the unity that happens when you allow yourself to become a mirror, emulating the existential desire for trust/coexistence/dependence between people. She has set out to immerse herself entirely in the landscape, people, and community and examine her discoveries through her passionate relationship with paint medium.