EVA SPEER'S ART is hard to pin down. Her paintings are highly aesthetic, also conceptual. In conversation, one minute we're talking Earth art, the next minute we're referencing a jellybean jar. The mutability of her descriptions is similar to the surface of her paintings—intense layers of materials (resin, latex paint, plexiglass) that create a distinct illusion of space and depth. Alone Together is Speer's fourth solo show at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art.

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NEON SIGNS: "Color is really important to me. I like the messiness of color. It's not easily corralled. It brings up biases. As for neon, I like to think of the origins; I like the idea that it started out as being this elemental thing—it's elements that they put inside tubes, that light up—like neon gases, xenon, and argon, that make the different colors of '80s neon signs."

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ON CONTEMPORARY PAINTING: "I feel like painting has just been a mode for me that worked, but I don't think of breaking the boundaries of painting per se—that's been done so many times. I'm interested in the way artists can bridge the divide between just making a technical object, and bringing something into being, and having that mean something."

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STEAK IN THE DESERT: "[Alone Together] stemmed from an experience I had in Utah in June: A couple of us decided to take a pilgrimage out to see [Robert Smithson's] "Spiral Jetty." We got stuck in desert back roads, stranded. The overnight experience was changing for me—it was vast in a way that I don't typically experience. At the same time, we still had steak for dinner. We shopped in the morning and this artist friend bought avocado and prosciutto; he was wrapping avocado with prosciutto, and we were hacking apart steak. But literally we were freezing and had to build a fire. We were yanking out dead sagebrush, all the while laughing because we're so used to symbolizing everything, thinking of everything in a reflective way, but we were having to do this to get through the night.

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