Lisa Cooley is incredibly pleased to present a solo exhibition of film, photography, and drawings by J. Parker Valentine. The exhibition will run from Sunday, May 18th until June 22nd, with an opening reception from 6 until 8 pm on May 18th.
Valentine has cultivated a diverse practice focused on drawing, but which also includes film, photography, painting, sculpture, and texts. The works begin as documentations or abstractions of personal experience which are then filtered through the artist’s interests in mythology, the ekphrasic relationships between media, architecture as psychological space, and man’s physical, gravitational connection to the earth.
Dustsceawung, an Old English word for “the contemplation of dust” or the acknowledgement that all which comes from the dust will return to dust, is an apt metaphor for this exhibition. Many of the works feel elegiac, honoring an event or person not seen, while others imply the potential for new actions or elements. Some images depict every day scenarios that are simultaneously archetypical. The tension between these opposing forces — creation and destruction, the immediate and the eternal – imbues the exhibition with a palpable sense of life force.
A key work, an untitled 16mm film projection, shows a series of symbolic moments, each connected to the earth — a woman lying in the grass, the visceral slaughter of a wild boar, a man feeling the sun and wind on his face, a buzzard circling overhead, the moon. The frame’s slight hand-held shaking implies rhythms akin to breathing or shuddering, and emphasizes the connections between each life-element depicted. The horizon — a line described by Valentine as “that which cuts us in half” — also figures prominently as both the division and connection between earth and sky.
Several small, unique photographs focus on intimate and enigmatic moments. One such image is a snapshot-sized depiction of a man, cropped at the waist, standing next to jumbled kitchen drawers in a yellowy light, slightly lifting his shorts to expose a crude gestural mark on his leg.
Valentine will also show a series of bold gesture drawings rendered with chunks of graphite, oil pastel or ink. Her process is equally additive and subtractive, producing works on paper and rough MDF panels full of dynamic, sometimes violent abstractions and ambiguous, feral, animal forms.
Finally, a series of voluminous curtain-sculptures will envelop the gallery’s doors and windows, transforming daylight into “dusty light” as it passes through raw brown fabric. While curtains inherently suggest beginnings and endings, these curtains physically exist at the gallery’s entrance and encapsulate the feeling of push and pull — as across a threshold — in so many of Valentine’s works.
J. PARKER VALENTINE was born in Austin, Texas in 1980. She studied painting in Florence, Italy and received a BFA from the University of Texas at Austin. Before attending the San Francisco Art Institute where she received her MFA in 2007, she spent several years living and working in London, UK. She is now based in Brooklyn. This is her first solo show in New York.