Val Close – Biography

View Val’s work here

Val Close studied originally at Sunderland University before winning a scholarship to SyracuseUniversity, New York State, where she did her M.A.

Val Close’s new series of work is concerned with consumerism & materialism.

She references these issues while using a variety of images including precious stones & expensive possessions, often via collage as well as paint.

She sometimes plays these off against more traditional natural images such as birds, plants, flowers etc, occasionally also in a figurative context.

The overall effect underlines the ultimate errors of commodification.

The collaged drawings & metallic paintings by Val Close, have their roots in Ancient Egypt. They were originally inspired by Ancient Egyptian funeral rites, where the dead are surrounded by their most precious possessions for their journey to the afterlife. They are also influenced visually by Egyptian Wall Paintings from the time. Based around Val Close’s own personal collection of memorabilia, objects and images. They are associated with symbolic and metaphorical issues connected with possessions, nostalgia, psychological narrative and escapism. They connect the making of the paintings & collages themselves, with collecting and appropriation in general. Essentially they are a celebration of the hidden beauty of everyday life.

Val’s crochet inspired oil paintings seem to be both containing, and combining a very subtle complexity of layers, colours, lines, and shapes. These new images are created via an intimate process involving spraying through crochet and lace. as well as stenciling and profiling with carefully chosen natural objects as part of a complex coloured webbing. The complex associations within the work refer to growth, decay, creation and destruction via metaphors related not only to organic structure in general but particularly to biological and physiological motifs. They were originally inspired by the idea of comfort blankets, hence the crochet and lace source material. They also are strangely reminiscent of abstracted illustrations from childhood fairy story books, containing as they do evocative allusions to landscape, hills, glades, forestry and magically changing light sources.

The more functional scarves, bags & cushion covers are simply an extension of the paintings & the collage, combining appropriated recycled materials with complex formal pattern making techniques. She is currently extending this process via large sewn Wall Hangings.

Val has exhibited her paintings widely throughout the world, including; -

Rome Art Centre – New York City,
Cornell University USA,
Bronwen White Gallery – New Orleans,
Galerie Noran-Germany,
Centrum BeeldendeKunst – Gronongen/Holland,
Bergens Kunstforening – Norway,
Tampera Taidemuseo – Finland,
Central House of the Artists – Moscow,
Latvia Academy of Art – Riga,
King Plow Art Centre – Atlanta/Georgia,
Lewers Gallery – N.S.W./Australia,
Artists Union Gallery – Bratislava/Slovakia,
Webster University – St Louis/Misourri,
University of Maryland – Baltimore,
Thomas K. Laing Gallery – Vienna.

Residencies include; -
Western Sydney University-Australia,
Schleswig Holstein-Germany.
The Northumbria Police Force & Northern Cancer Centre, England.

Most recent Exhibitions include-

John Bloxham Gallery, London

‘Firstgrowth’ 1st St Gallery, New York City,

Hicks Gallery, London

‘Objects & Interiors’, Lacey Contemporary Art, London, January 2015

‘Home Comforts’ Lacey Contemporary Art, London, December 2015

Objects & Interiors’ Lacey Contemporary Gallery, London, January 2015

‘Home Comforts’ Lacey Contemporary Gallery, London, December 2015

‘Sweet Dreams of Contentment’ Brian Ord, Val Close, Pete Scott

The Customs House , Tyne & Wear, June / July 2016

‘House & Hotel ‘, Lacey Contemporary Gallery, London, November 2016