Artist Feature: Rebeca Spiegel

Freya Wasteneys//Managing Editor

Some feelings are hard to put into words. We draw on other languages and obscure vocabulary to sum up emotions, only to have our meaning lost in translation. Mimeomia. Anemoia. Kairosclerosis. For Rebeca Spiegel, art provides an outlet for the ineffable—a vessel for the things left unsaid. “I struggle with words,” said the second-year MOPA student from Brazil. “I just draw what I’m feeling.”

Portraits, colour and constellations are the defining elements of Spiegel’s otherwise experimental body of work. She incorporates stars, subtly etching them into her subjects’ skin to symbolize the “little universe” inside us all. Yet, despite the intricate details woven throughout Spigel’s art, it’s the eyes—or in some cases, the lack of eyes—that stay with the viewer. “I sometimes get overwhelmed with myself and have trouble making eye contact,” she explained. “I thought, ‘oh, what if I draw people without eyeballs so I can look them in the face.’” For some, the effect lends a haunting quality, and yet for Spigel, it’s a calculated effort to make her portraits less intimidating.

Spiegel struggles to identify as a visual artist, not wishing to be pinned to one mode of expression. “I’m still trying to figure out who I am, and who I am as an artist,” she mused. “I’ve tried a lot of things. We’re all constantly changing, so I don’t want to stay with one style. I know professionally that’s not a great plan, but really, I draw because I love it. I draw for myself.” She prefers to be called a creative and works without a preconceived plan. 

Despite her self-effacing assessment, Spiegel’s work captures an honesty and depth that make it hard to look away. By seemingly drawing on elements of magical realism and intimate psychology, her work is both mysterious and relatable. It’s compassionate, but respectfully distant, allowing the viewer to make their own connections. “We’re all so different, but also so similar,” said Spiegel. “I feel like that’s something I want to capture.” For Spiegel, art is subjective, but it’s also universal. 

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