At Crystal Bridges, we’re committed to exploring the unfolding story of America. Through the 2014 State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition, the museum introduced 102 artists who live and work in communities all over the US. We’re continuing that effort in 2018 through new installations and the upcoming exhibitions, The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art and Art for a New Understanding: Native Voices 1950s to Today, both organized by Crystal Bridges.
#ArtistatCB provides a window into the lives and studios of artists, who help us connect to the issues of our time in thought-provoking and inspiring ways.
Resides in: Oakland, California
Social Media: Instagram
Artwork at Crystal Bridges:
Deer Skull with Blue Vase (2017), oil on canvas, 40” x 41”, Hashimoto Contemporary
Study-ing (2015), oil on canvas, 72” x 72”, Hashimoto Contemporary
Anna Valdez’s still-life paintings invite viewers into the personal space of her studio to reveal a unique kind of self-portrait. Originally trained as an anthropologist and archaeologist, Valdez understands the role possessions can play in telling the stories of people’s lives. The extended leaf of a potted succulent, the bold pattern of a checkered tablecloth, the haphazard stack of well-worn art books: the objects in her paintings speak to the casual reality of the everyday studio life. Though it may appear impromptu, in fact, Valdez controls the narrative she communicates to viewers through the careful choice and meticulous arrangement of the objects she portrays. This is a kind of personal primping through everyday stuff— tidying up before guests arrive in order to send a particular message.
Valdez’s paintings depict a contemporary setting steeped in a vocabulary informed by the past. An artist’s artist, she admires and emulates great painters, famous and not-so, from across time: Henri Matisse, Paul Gauguin, Lois Dodd, Joan Brown, Warren Brandt. In Study-ing, Valdez directly points out some of these influences through the many art history books littered across the foreground. However, even without the books, her handling of space links her to some of the modernists she admires. By playing with foreshortened angles and conflating different views, Valdez reveals that understanding a space is more than mastering perspective.
The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe and Contemporary Art is on view through September 3! Tickets and more info here.