Heidi Spector, Hon. Doctor of Civil Law, hc
Lives and works in Montréal, Canada
About the artist
Heidi Spector (Canadian, b. 1966, Montreal, Canada) is a geometric artist best known for her exploration of minimalism as studied through lines, repetition, color and reflection. In 2023 Heidi Spector received an honorary doctorate of Civil Law, honoris causa for her contributions of joy to society through her art. Spector’s work has been the subject of numerous solo and group shows including exhibitions in Montreal, London, Paris, Los Angeles, Houston, Miami, and New York. Her work is included in several corporate, private and museum collections worldwide. Her paintings and sculptural cubes composed of acrylic painted as bands of color on Russian birch, are topped with resin, creating a surface where candy-like colors pulse and dance together, alluding to the impact of popular music on her work. Referred to by the artist as “geometric minimalism,” Spector purposefully avoids injecting specific emotional content to her paintings, instead opting for bold color choices that quickly establish an upbeat and lively mood. Her shining repetitive pattern of vertical or horizontal stripes project a natural sense of optimism and joy informed by the techno beats and self-absorption of club life. Spector’s paintings are influenced by popular music, taking on titles based on song lyrics by artists as varied as Duke Ellington, Roxy Music, Amy Winehouse and DJ Tiesto. The color palette of each painting is in part a response to each song, infusing her works with the sensation of being an audio/visual playlist. The geometric opticality and slick surfaces of Spector’s paintings connect her works with a tradition of hard–edge painters, such as Bridget Riley and Frank Stella. Her vision of the paintings as objects of desire and joy, however, also place Spector’s work alongside contemporary pop artists embracing kitsch as profound.
~ May Yeung, New York, NY. 2013
Art is a way for me to connect with the world and share thoughts and ideas that are deep within. My geometric minimalist paintings and sculptures seeks to put forth a sense of peace and positivity through the study of lines, repetition, colour and reflection. My hope is that I can achieve this in some way and that the message within can bring solace to the soul of the viewer and to mine as well. We can also call it an advancement of the spirit. To me, as an artist, this endeavour seems to be my most important objective.
When I first started creating this geometric minimalist collection, I was greatly inspired by the works of Frank Stella, Sol Lewitt, Barnett Newman, Bridgit Riley, Gene Davis, Yves Klein, Agnes Martin, Kenneth Noland, Guido Molinari, Donald Judd and Jack Bush…amongst other artists of the 60’s and 70’s. Frank Stella’s iconic statement, “What You See Is What You See”, the unofficial slogan of minimalist practice, inspired me to detract from painting emotionally. I simply wanted to put paint, colour, resin, steel and lines onto birch without any emotional context.
As I moved forward in my practice, I came to understand that although my work was described as minimalist, there is nothing simple at the core and an emotional perspective is undeniable. In creating these works with candy coloured acrylic paint with resin on birch panels, cubes, prisms, columns and rhombuses as well as implementing polished mirrored stainless steel, the viewer is ultimately invited to participate in the artwork by seeing their reflection and interacting with the vibration and vibrancy of colour and the reflective nature of mirrored steel. Inevitably, there was an emotional reaction of positivity and a sense of optimism and peace from the viewer. This, I came to understand, related to what I held dear at my own core.
Loud music plays a great role in my studio, as I get lost in the sound of techno and electronic dance beats, metallic rock, jazz, reggae and classical which I feel promote a sensation of freedom and get me into a sort of meditation. The color palette of each painting or sculpture is in part a response to each song, and infuses my work with the sensation of being an audio/visual playlist.
As I look forward to conceptualizing and realizing new creations and projects in the tradition of minimalist practice, I hope to have the opportunity to continue a dialogue of optimism and provide the viewer with a moment of time where they can feel at peace.
~ Heidi Spector