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Gallery Conversation » The Beyond Anna Valdez
Join artist Anna Valdez for a conversation on her artwork in the temporary exhibition The Beyond: Georgia O’Keeffe & Contemporary Art.
Space is limited; please arrive 5 to 10 minutes early.
The Gallery Conversation is free, but a ticket to the exhibition is required: $10 (Free for members and youth ages 18 and under), available at Guest Services or https://crystalbridges.org/okeeffe .
About the Artist
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-work 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.
[i] Giaco Furino, “Vibrant Flora Paintings Are an Archaeological Portrait of Life,” Creators, November 13, 2016, https://creators.vice.com/en_uk/article/wnpv9y/paints-soothing-flora.