Category Archives: Artist Statements

G SPOT CONTEMPORARY FEBRUARY 2017

NOW SHOWING IN HOUSTON TEXAS FEBRUARY 2017

The Gallery located at 310 East 9th Street, 77007, is open Friday – Sunday from 12pm – 5pm and also by appointment.

ARTIST TALK FEBRUARY 23rd 6pm – 9pm

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SOLO SHOWING OF NEW WORK AT G SPOT CONTEMPORARY IN HOUSTON TEXAS FEBRUARY 2017

The Gallery located at 310 East 9th Street, 77007, is open Friday – Sunday from 12pm – 5pm and also by appointment.

ARTIST TALK FEBRUARY 23rd 6pm – 9pm

Inquires: Wayne Gilbert 713.822.4842

These paintings, installations, and encaustics convey a colorful world seemingly untouched by the upheavals of ruin, bigotry, evil, violence, and fear, but are, in fact, a penetrating and personal view of this moment in our American life. They assert that, even at this time, the ideals of tenderness and compassion serve as the foundation of a prosperous society.You could say that I want to challenge perceptions, beginning with the idea of a fixed self, gender, body, or ontology, including the perception that delight and tenderness are not part of a discourse of political protest and protection.

With a preference for motes of pure pigment, pencilled lines, metallic, neon, and iridescent color, I’ve developed a personal iconography. By presenting tangibly politicized objects and images in pacific settings— guns, rainbows, clouds, triangles, plant life and male/female reproductive organs— these works skirt the lines of representation and abstraction to create a vantage from which to view violence and prejudice.

I employed lines of graphite and loose constellations of shapes, favoring day-glow and translucent paint. I mixed pure pigments with water or encaustic medium or applied them directly to create celestial compositions of colors. Throughout the year, my work became simplified. I let myself go, scattering handfuls of pleasures across surfaces. It has been liberating to let particles of pigment direct the topography of the resulting work.

I’ve also explored the whimsical possibilities of installations, joining materials from the cultures of construction, craft, and play to create hanging sculptures. These immersive forms reveal the armature of their own making and invite us inside to question our expectations about reality.

I hope that experiencing familiar impulses in new surroundings will educate our emotions and influence a comprehensive reconsideration of how we treat the world, each other, and ourselves.

Cover image: PULSE 36″X36″ mixed media on canvas.

ANNOTHER SUNNY DAY AT CAFE PASSE

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ANOTHER SUNNY DAY IN THE DESERT | MARCH 3 – APRIL 30 | CAFE PASSE | 85705

I owe the title of this series to my sex-same partner, who often opens the shade of a morning and exclaims, “It’s another sunny day in the desert.”  The phrase can be understood as a point of fact, irony, or wonder.  In a state that votes discrimination into law with such Senate bills as the federally-disputed SB 1070, and that narrowly vetoed SB 1062, which would have legalized a faith-based right to refuse service to assumed members of the LGBTQ community, it doesn’t always feel like a sunny day.

So much behavior comes from, and makes for, heavy hearts. To oppose fear and hatred, I am compelled to expose and explore with light-heartedness and whimsy.  It is important to me to bring heavy subjects to “light.”

The master images for ANOTHER SUNNY DAY IN THE DESERT exist as light.  Reading about David Hockney’s use of iPhone technology to make art led me to explore the drawing applications available on my iPhone. I settled on Green Gar’s Whiteboard app.  I began making digital paintings in 2012 at local businesses, and outdoors at home of an evening or afternoon.

My use of color was greatly expanded by working with a digital palate.  It was a delight to match colors in encaustic and acrylic with the digital colors.  Each encaustic or acrylic corresponds to a digital fingerpainting and is one of a kind. Translating digital images into encaustic art required me to use tools in new ways. Previously I relied on incising, using paintbrushes to fill incisions, but with these pieces, I also used the brushes to paint.  Next, I used a heat gun to move and to fuse the layers that I’d painted on. The process of moving back and forth between ultra-contemporary and ancient techniques is liberating.

The prints are produced in a range of sizes, with a maximum of 5 images per size and a maximum of 25 prints per image.

All works are discounted for purchase during the exhibit. If you would like to take a piece home today, Café Passe will accept cash on my behalf. If you would like to pay with a credit card ($5.00 processing fee on purchases of $100 or less) via PayPal, please contact me.

Thank you to Betts Printing and Fred’s Custom Stretching.

ANOTHER SUNNY DAY IN THE DESERT

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Reading about David Hockney’s use of iPhone technology to create art led me on a search to explore the drawing applications available on my iPhone. I settled on Green Gar’s Whiteboard app. Many of these were drawn on the front porch in the desert of an evening, or on the back porch of an afternoon, inspired by Tucson’s green desert. Each encaustic corresponds to a digital “fingerpainting” and is one of a kind.

The images printed on glossy photo paper are available in a range of sizes, beginning at 8 1/2″x11″, limited to an edition of five archival prints.
8 ½” x 11” $100
Larger sizes (24” x 36” or 48” x 72” for example) priced upon request.

To view the images one by one go to valyntiagrenier.com

Also, CLOUDSHOW / UTOPIA (see below) is showing at Bentley’s till September 15th

CLOUDSHOW / UTOPIA by Valyntina Grenier

CLOUDSHOW / UTOPIA will be showing AUGUST 15 – SEPTEMBER 15 at BENTLEY’S 1730 EAST SPEEDWAY  85719. Bentley’s is open M-Sa 7am to 5pm and  Su 8am to 4pm.

I’ll be having a RECEPTION SATURDAY AUGUST 17th 4 – 5:30pm, come by for a glass of Lemonaid.

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To view a portfolio of individual pieces go to valyntinagrenier.com.

Antony and the Johnsons’ exquisitely painful song, Another World[1], conveys a desperate love for what’s here, confounded by the knowledge that it and we are ephemeral.  The guiding principle for CLOUDSHOW / UTOPIA[2] is to make ANOTHER WORLD and discover PEACE ON OTHER PLANETS. Because we hurt nature, each other, and ourselves, I set out to create my utopia as a place unpeopled, a place of clouds, rainbows, and waterfalls without us there to screw everything up.

No sooner had I begun serious thought about utopia, than I began to kick people out of it. I’d been thinking a lot about John William Waterhouse’s painting Ividia[3]; in Latin, invidia is the sense of envy, from invidere, “to look against, to look at in a hostile manner.” Envy for or from others drives us to solitude. I recalled the noir film LE SAMOURÏ[4] and reacquainted myself w/ its opening text,  “There is no greater solitude than that of the samurai unless it is that of the tiger in the jungle… Perhaps…” — Bushido[5]

There are TRACES OF FORCES that guide us to each other and to ourselves. My work for CLOUDSHOW / UTOPIA actually began with a previous show inspired by The Divine Comedy[6], in particular by Michael Mazur’s[7] monotype illustration for Canto XI, a map of Dante’s hell, which, if rotated, reads as a rainbow.  In my painting, Nine Circles Make A Rainbow and a Target[8], a pink arc with red road markers represents the seventh circle, in which Dante houses those who commit sins of violence.

THE ROAD TO NOWHERE[9] begins and ends within us. Though we do harm, we do love.  We are kind.  And we’re here for the near and somewhat distant future at least. Challenging myself to make objects without the presence of humanity didn’t come to fruition.

Accidents happen; it is a part of my practice to embrace them.  When pouring the base for CLOUDS WHISPER TO THE MARTYRS OF AN END TO ALL WARS in a 115-degree garage, the dam broke.  A few pounds of 400-degree beeswax and damar began to cascade across my worktable and fall to the floor. I quickly placed supports around the edges of the frame to save as much medium as possible. I added more medium, and pulled out my hot air gun to direct and re-melt the cooling surface. Despite my efforts, it began to harden unevenly. I walked away.

I returned to discover that the profile of a woman’s face had hardened into the “misshapen” surface. I decided to carve the minimalist symbol, seen in TRACES OF FORCES,[10] as I had initially planned, and also to define the woman’s profile.  I filled in the rest of the uneven surfaces w/ clouds, sky, and foreground. It was not until the piece was completed that some friends pointed out the optical illusion of a man’s profile tracing the woman’s profile.  It’s a paradox – I set out to create a world free from people and behavior, yet I can’t help but make human faces embracing.

I desire connection and celebration, too. I want to go to a CLOUD PARTY AT THE RAINBOW[11]. I want to KEEP DANCING[12].  Music is an integral element of my practice. I like to dance while I’m working. I chose Jay-Z’s Heaven[13] to start my playlist– I like to choose a certain song, then hit shuffle. 

Reading, research, and other visual arts are integral to my process as well. They are my escape from actual making, but also my inspiration to get back to paintbrushes or sculpting tools.  Inspiration for a series also comes from my collection of art postcards. For CLOUDSHOW / UTOPIA, I was inspired by one of King Tut’s inlaid pieces of jewelry and a drinking cup, Victor Pasmore’s The Green Earth[14], David Smith’s Voltri VII[15],  Miro’s Bleu II[16],   Howard Hodgkin’s Lovers[18],  Kandinsky’s Painting with Three Spots[19] and Calder’s circus[17].

I had the opportunity to visit California in the midst of production. I took with me Hundertwasser’s Complete Graphic Work 1951-1976[20], an exquisite, pocket-sized catalogue produced by Joram Harel in Vienna, 2008.  At the LACMA, we saw Matisse’s large-scale ceramic La Gerbe[21], Hans Richter: Encounters[23] (Richter was involved w/ the utopian groups Die Brücke  and Der Blaue Reiter) and Chris Burden’s Metropolis II[22].   I brought home a copy of Timothy Benson’s Expressionist Utopias[24] and was surprised to rediscover that the guiding principle behind the many utopian movements is the desire to make a better community, which creates the innocence of a Garden of Eden or the complexity of an architectural fantasy. For the Glashaus utopians, a CRYSTAL CATHEDRAL is the center of their architectural ideal.

My cathedral is the rainbow, a WATERHOUSE. My utopia is a community of works that CIPHER THE COSMOS for SYMBOLS THAT BELONG ON THE ALTAR OF A FUTURE SPIRITUAL ONTOLOGY[25].

KEEP DANCING +V


[1] http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5qkfAc_6dv0  Thank you, Sara Mumolo, for introducing me to the song

[2] My use of all caps indicates a title, either of the show or a painting in it

[5] The quote atriibuted to Bushido was invented by Le Samourï director Jean-Pierre  Melville http://www.frontlip.eu/2013/03/cal-smyth-crime-film-double-bill-point-blank-and-le-samourai/

[9] The word utopia was coined in Greek by Sir Thomas More; it comes from the Greek: οὐ (“not”) and τόπος (“place”) and means “no place”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utopia

[10] From Timothy O. Benson’s Essay, “Fantasy and Functionality: The Fate of Utopia,” “artists around 1900 hoped to find in nature signatures or traces of forces that might reshape the world for the betterment of humanity”

[11] I worked at The Rainbow Bar and Grill in my early 20’s

[12] The title KEEP DANCING comes from Arcade Fire’s song “My Body is a Cage” (in particular, the lyric “My body is a cage that keeps me from dancing with the one I love”)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhhZdune_5Q

[25] From Timothy O. Benson’s Essay, “Fantasy and Functionality: The Fate of Utopia,” the goal of the Munich Blaue Reiter (founded by Kandinsky and Franz Marc) according to Marc was “to create out of their work symbols of their own time, symbols that belong on the altar of a future spiritual religion”

GIVE LOVE SHOWING NOW THROUGH MARCH 31ST

Please join me for the reception Saturday March 9th 6:30-8:30 IN THE SPIRIT OF GIVING I’LL BE RAFFLING OFF A PIECE OF ARTWORK TO BENEFIT CASA LIBRE! Details to come but tickets will be available online March 1st or at the reception…

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GIVE LOVE
In Plato’s Symposium, Sophocles posits that to love is to desire love. The figures in GIVE LOVE represent various romantic couples. These couples explore Sophocles’ convention, and its opposite, to love without expectation. The subtle gestures of the figures depict natural, iconic moments that occur between two women, two men, and between woman and man.The pieces are snapshots of lovers engaged.
As the titles indicate, the figures are out in the world, perhaps having a picnic or preparing to dance. Or they are alone together, naked, happy or quarreling. Their love is insecure, inquiring, “Are You Mine?” or confident, declaring, “My Love is Yours.” The minimalism of these pieces, as well as Sophocles’ notion of love, leave room for interpretation and conversation. What do you see? How is your love?Any of these artworks can be made available for Valentine’s Day, go to valyntinagrenier.com. Online prices include USPS flat rate shipping w/in the US.

NINE CIRCLES MAKE A RAINBOW AND A TARGET and CANTO XXVI

NINE CIRCLES MAKE A RAINBOW AND A TARGET
36″ x 36″ acrylic and graphite on canvas

“Nine Circles” refers to Dante’s description of Hell. The structure and orientation of the circles in this painting are based on Michael Mazur’s monotype for Canto XI, which appears in Pinsky’s translation of the Inferno. It is not a coincidence that Dante’s circles appear in my painting both as a target and as a rainbow, a symbol for gay pride. Gays are often targets of brutality. The pink arc with red road markers represents the seventh circle, in which Dante houses those who commit sins of violence. The absent road markers in the upper right symbolize a break in the cycle of violence.

CANTO XXVI                                                                                                                               30″ x 30″ acrylic on canvas

 

 

 

EKPHRASIS – at Bentley’s House of Coffee and Tea

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SHOWING July 17 – AUGUST 14  At 1730 East Speedway Blvd. Tucson M – SA 7AM to 4PM SU 8AM to 4PM 520.795.0338
The primary iconography for this show, single-line figures, comes from Autopoiesis, a series I began in 1997. Elements in an autopoietic system are producer and product simultaneously. To live in an autonomous way, living systems need to obtain resources from their environment. Forms in art, because of their symbolic nature, are dependent upon a relationship with viewers, who are themselves producers and consumers. Ekphrasis, the use of one work of art to tell the story of another, is also an example of autopoiesis. In this exhibit, the figures represent spirits and living beings.

I began painting Divine Comedy a few years ago. In the process of finishing it for this show, the painting began to look religious to me as I built up the fore- and background colors and the black figures primarily with triangulation. I thought, I’m an atheist, what am I making here? Dante’s epic poem the Divine Comedy came to mind; I recalled how much I enjoyed reading parts of Mandelbaum’s Commedia and Pinsky’s translation of the Inferno. Dante’s form and subject matter, especially the humor and humanity with which he depicts both sinners and saints, became the guiding principle for the show.

I painted Francesca and Paolo, Dante’s adulterers, swaying in a sea of flames. Francesca and Paolo’s story is a precursor to the gothic novel, which combines elements of horror, supernatural evil, and romance. Gothic architecture offers another context in which to consider these works, with its castles and cathedrals, especially the statues and decorative schemes that address peoples’ fascination with, and fear of, supernatural power. My use of a pitchfork symbol is inspired by Grant Wood’s American Gothic.

Sympathy for the Devil (also the title of a Rolling Stones’ song) recalls for me the most stirring moment in Mandelbaum’s translation, his depiction of a devil weeping as he is forced to gnash an infinity of sinners. It hadn’t occurred to me that a devil might be anything but malevolent.

I love terza rima, a rhyme scheme invented by Dante. Composed of tercets, each stanza’s first and third lines rhyme, while the center line ignites the rhyme of the following tercet. My triptych Terza Rima represents types of couples (in the past, I have titled similar triptychs American Marriage, No On Prop 8 and Date Night). By placing the heteros in the middle, I’m attempting a metonym for Dante’s rhyme scheme.

As one element of an autopoietic system, I continue to reference and reuse my own art. The intaglio print My Pager is in My Other Pants mimics an early sketch I made for Autopoiesis. I etched the plate Kandinsky Coffin in 2010, using non-toxic methods. Working the print in encaustic with the Divine Comedy on my mind, it occurred to me that a coffin, paradise, and purgatory are three inventions created to accommodate the same event — the cessation of life.

To view these and other works online go to valyntinagrenier.com.