Julia Wachtel dissipates documentary images into caricatures through absurd though undeniable comparisons. Wachtel combines screen-printing with oil and acrylic painting. Her practice began in the 1980’s, and by the 1990’s, Wachtel had transitioned primarily into landscapes which she continues to adapt. Within these horizontal polyptychs of screen-printed photographs, are reactionary cartoon figurines foreshadowing the emoji. Scenes of protest, shopping and pollution hold humored and concerned caricatures that embody the ambivalence to such modern practices.
In 1992, Wachtel created a series of color blocks with media photographs of public figures; faces and stances to mediate on, with associative auras. In 1993, Wachtel began obscuring painted images of grief with sections of exposed raw linen canvas. As the ‘90s progressed, Wachtel returned to pairing modern confusion with classicalism.
In 2010, Wachtel resumed painting extremely neat polyptychs of abstract fundamentals, and their modern applications. Wachtel mirrors the prolonged image of a materialized virtual reality, against the confusion that such principles conduct, creating indefinitely expanding halls of mirrors. Many of these paintings are portraits of her audience; the consumer of standardized experiences let alone products. Wachtel chose to work in painting for this unhurried, visual contemplation.