Anna Valdez‘s still life paintings are infused with the bright colours of her native California, the bright world of the west coast giving life to a series of self portraits reflected through the domestic objects littered across her room.
Each of these paintings appear to be an exercise in craft, a desire to create a wonderful pattern of life through intricate fabrics and juxtapositions of colour, line and form but look a little closer, deeper, more thoughtfully and you’ll find Valdez everywhere in these compositions. In her books. albums, poetry, her choices of fabric, the flowers and shrubs that decorate her house and the light that dances across her objects. Each telling its own story, a thread that makes up the tapestry of life.
After having studied as an anthropologist Valdez found her artistic fire in the rain sodden lands of my native Ireland. It was while she was on an archaeological dig in this country that she began keeping a sketchbook, encouraged to create scale drawings and maps of the site. This process of visually interpreting the remnants of the past led Valdez to question her own heritage and the visual stories that link generations together. It was out of this re-interpretation, this retelling of an ancient story that led her into her own narrative and a realisation that culture only flourishes when it recognises its past and draws from the deep well of collective memories; of people, rituals and objects.
Firmly placed in the present yet comfortable with the past Valdez explores the stories that make us who we are, that make her the artist she is today. Her reflective paintings part of a search, an expedition into the past in order to make sense of the future. Here’s what she has to say about her work:
Currently, I am working on various narratives that explore my own traditions and history through a visual format. This process has led me to rely on photographs, stories, family recipes, horticulture, and the tradition of crafting as something concrete in order to construct my autobiography. I consider this examination to be a rite of passage into a globalized society while simultaneously finding my niche within.
Recently, many of my pieces have been still lives. These arrangements have been composed from various household items such as my clothes, quilts, scarves, blankets, house plants, drawings, paintings, books, records, and vessels. These items exist as a part of my domestic environment, and I have put them in my paintings to understand the domestic sphere as emblematic of both personal and collective experience.