Julia Wachtel

b. 1956, New York, USA. Lives and works in New York, USA


Julia Wachtel




Mining from the expanses of popular culture, Wachtel is best known for work that actively unsettles our vast visual vocabulary. An ongoing format for her paintings involves repeating recognisable images into compositions which position the frivolous, the significant, and the non-descript in unprioritised succession. In Untitled (Body Builder), (1989) a screen-printed image of a teenage man flexing his muscles is doubled and butted up against a hand-painted but equally appropriated image of a geeky greetings card character waving to us. With his androgynous face, patched trousers, rubbish dump hair and elongated shoes he's an approachable clown, offering an open-ended juxtaposition to the Nike clad body builder. Morerecently Wachtel has almost exclusively imagery drawn from the internet, and repeatedly turned to representations used in advertising and the media, in what the artist describes as acts of 'reclamation'.