Category Archives: UTOPIA

PRIDE POP-UP at TINY TOWN GALLERY Sept 29th and 30th

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I’ll be showing at Tiny Town Gallery* 408 N. 4th Ave. during Tucson Pride’s 40th Anniversary celebration (Pride on Parade on 4th Ave. starting at 7pm on Friday, Pride in the Park at Reid Park from noon to 9pm on Sunday).

PLEASE JOIN ME FOR A RECEPTION AT TINY TOWN ON SATURDAY FROM 5:30PM to 7PM

I will be donating 10% of my sales to The Montrose Center’s HURRICANE HARVEY LGBTQ DISASTER RELIEF FUND. To donate directly go to https://my.reason2race.com/DNicol/HurricaneHarveyLGBTQDisasterReliefFund2017

* Tiny Town Surplus and Gallery will be open from noon to 9pm Fri. And Sat.

I make joyful 2D and installation art to counter cruelty in the world. My paintings, installations, and encaustics, assert that, even at this time, the ideals of tenderness and compassion serve as the foundation of a prosperous society. My work transcends boundaries between critical ideas and lighthearted forms. My intention is to create a fearless environment to contemplate politically charged imagery– guns, rainbows, plant life and reproductive organs that can be read as male, female, or both. I hope that experiencing familiar impulses in unexpected surroundings will educate our emotions and influence a comprehensive reconsideration of how we see ourselves, each other and the world.

Advertisements

PULSE

I’ll be going LIVE TODAY
between 6 PM – 9 PM CST
During my artist talk at G Gallery

Please join me LIVE ONLINE from facebook and instagram during  my artist talk this Thursday February 23rd. I’ll be at the gallery between 6pm and 9pm and will be going live to share some of the talk or/and give a brief virtual tour.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mixed Media on Canvas
48” x 48”
2016

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

TRICKHOUSE LIVE at Casa Libre celebrates: at the intersection of 3, THIS SATURDAY NIGHT!

Jill Darling, Hannah Ensor, and Laura Wetherington will be reading from at the intersection of 3. They have chosen my painting NINE CIRCLES MAKE A RAINBOW AND A TARGET  for the cover.dYpnpfXyM67KhyWeThis is a very special event – a chapbook pre-release reading and celebration! These 3 put their very smart (and equally charming) brains together and made a thing and now we get to experience the wonder of it!

Saturday, April 12
7-9 p.m.
$5 Suggested Donation

Trickhouse Live is an integrative arts series that brings together people working with words, images, sounds, videos, and performances. The series serves as a venue for visiting artists to interact with local artists and for the borders between genres and media to be permeable. Trickhouse Live is a physical world extension of the online cross-genre arts journal, Trickhouse.org, which is based in Tucson.

TUCSON OPEN STUDIOS Saturday and Sunday, April 12th and 13th, 11am-5pm

IMG_3771When you are out and about at Tucson Open Studios, stop by Splinter Brothers and Sisters Warehouse to see Fred Soto at Fred’s Custom Stretching. Fred is showing my work and the work of several other artists. He  does all my stretching and framing as well as makes substrates for my encaustic art, and he deals in supplies. My work on display is discounted from online prices.

Splinter Brother’s is at 901 N. 13th Ave.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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”

Counting down to CLOUDSHOW / UTOPIA

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.