Tuesday, August 28, 2012

De Wain Valentine: Thinking Inside and Outside The Box

In grade school we learn about the basic shapes in geometry: circles, ovals, squares, triangles, rectangles, quadrangles, parallelograms, the rhombus, pentagons, hexagons, octagons—the list goes on and on. Under most circumstances, these shapes are only used as simple elements within a much larger work of art. For example, one might use a circle and a triangle in a basic sketch. With added detail, the circle can become a head and the triangle takes the shape of a nose. With more shading, a few lines and a pair of eyes, facial features come into view, and eventually we lose track of the painting’s humble beginnings.
Like any other artist, De Wain Valentine approaches his sculptures with the basic geometry of the finished product in mind. But instead of fading away through added details such as fine chiseling or added sanding and polishing, the concept of the shape serves as the most essential part of his work. That is not to say Valentine doesn’t pay attention to detail—the technical composition of his large, polyester resin sculptures requires a complex process to bring out a sheen that acts as both an opaque reflector and a filter for light to pass through. In this regard, Valentine enables his audiences to look at both themselves and at other people within the scope of his sculptures, almost literally immersing the viewer in art.

De Wain Valentine
"Lavender Column"

De Wain Valentine
"Circle Blue Smoke Flow"

Valentine has had installations shown in the Museum of Modern Art, The Contemporary Museum in Honolulu and the San Diego Museum of Art. The Georgia Museum of Art, through the efforts of chief curator and Curator of American Art Paul Manoguerra, Pierre Daura Curator of European Art Lynn Boland, Director William Underwood Eiland, the W. Newton Morris Charitable Foundation and the Friends of the Georgia Museum of Art, has put together an exhibition featuring Valentine’s work in Human Scale. The exhibition will run from Sept. 8, 2012, until Jan. 27, 2013. 

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