Amanda Valdez exhibits at Charles Danforth Gallery in Augusta – MAINE ART SCENE MAGAZINE

(Augusta, ME) In her first exhibition in Maine Breaking Wave, New York-based artist Amanda Valdez exhibits a series of new works created especially for the multi-level geometric space of the Charles Danforth Gallery to University of Maine at Augusta. The title of the exhibition refers to the way his works create and then decompose linear structures with organic forms, but also to the way the curvilinear forms spring from the constraints of the grid. Hybridizing weaving, quilting and drawing to create textile “paintings”, Valdez’s new works intertwine the linear structure of the grid, which mirrors and symbolizes (in the weaving patterns) the warp and weft of the loom. or the squares of a quilt and the architecture. of the Danforth Gallery, and the organic gestures of nature and painting.

The exhibition runs from September 1 to October 14, 2022. There will be an in-person opening reception and gallery talk on Thursday, September 1, 2022 at noon. On September 7, 2022 at 12:00 p.m. there will be a Zoom Q&A with the artist. Additionally, there will be a conversation (via Zoom) between Amanda Valdez and Dr. Noga Bernstein (date and time TBD).

Valdez’s works have recently been featured in solo exhibitions at the Landing Gallery in Los Angeles in 2021, where his exhibition was an Artforum “Critics’ Pick”, at Koki Arts in Tokyo, Japan in 2020, and at the Heckscher Museum in Long Island the same year. She has completed numerous prestigious residencies, including at Yaddo and the McDowell Colony, and two residencies at the Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans. She is represented by the Denny Dimin Gallery in New York and Hong Kong, and the Landing Gallery in Los Angeles.

Amanda Valdez: Breaking Wave features four new large-scale works constructed from hand-woven textiles on a floor loom, quilted fabrics, embroidery and paint that are based on the precise geometric notations of weaving charts and quilting patterns that play on the square format of the gallery itself. Beginning with regular squares of graph paper, Valdez creates patterns for her works that oscillate between woven passages, quilted sections, embroidery, and organic painted forms.

Steeped in the history of textile art and design, Valdez’s works reference the modernist devotion to grids while exploring the ways in which these linear constraints led to creative breakthroughs, whether in minimalist art movements and concepts of the 1960s and 1970s or in the weavings of Anni Albers. Valdez’s work references and includes the cultural resilience and resonance of women’s craft traditions, which she studied extensively at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in her interviews with visionary artists like Sheila Hicks, and in his residency at the New Roots Foundation in Guatemala. His work is also deeply connected to the American Pattern & Decoration movement that began in the early 1970s, and in particular to its canonical artists like Valerie Jaudon and Judy Ledgerwood.

Joining art history and craft traditions, Valdez’s work represents a new synthesis of materials and concepts. As art historian Dr. Lisa D. Frieman wrote in her 2021 essay for the artist’s catalog, Gratitude, “Valdez has developed his own conceptual language that materially reveals how diverse media and aesthetic practices, such as fabric, sewing, quilting and weaving, absorbed by different times and cultures, can rigorously coexist with abstract painting and drawing.(24) Breaking Wave demonstrates how to link weaving, patchwork, drawing and painting can “break” the linear constraints of the grid and remake them, weaving a new fabric into the space of our present.

About Amanda Valdez

Amanda Valdez was born in Seattle, WA and is currently based in New York. She received her MFA from Hunter College in New York and her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has received artist-in-residence awards from Yaddo, MacDowell Colony, Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts and Joan Mitchell Center to name a few. Recent solo exhibitions include The Deep Way, The Landing Gallery, Los Angeles, Piecework, Heckscher Museum of Art, Huntington, NY, Gratitude, Denny Gallery New York, Rotherwas Project 1: Amanda Valdez. Ladies’ Night, Mead Art Museum, Amherst University, Rattle Around, Koki Fine Arts, Tokyo. She received the 2011 MFA Professional Development Fellowship from the College Art Association. It is in the collections of the Davis Museum at Wellesley College and the Mead Art Museum at Amherst University, as well as private collections. She is represented by the Denny Dimin Gallery, New York and Hong Kong, and the Landing Gallery, Los Angeles.

About the Charles Danforth Gallery at the University of Maine at Augusta

The Charles Danforth Gallery, located in Jewett Hall at the University of Maine in Augusta, is named after renowned artist and former faculty member Charles Danforth. The gallery serves the UMA campus and the wider Central Maine community with rotating exhibitions of contemporary art. Designed as a living classroom and used for lectures and other events, the gallery is a site for faculty, students, alumni and community members to engage in ideas, forms and conversations about art. The gallery is open during normal business hours, Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., September through May. For more information, please visit www.danforth.uma.edu. Also find the Gallery on Facebook and instagram.

The University of Maine at Augusta is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Institution.

Image: Amanda Valdez, “Breaking Wave 2”, 2022, embroidery, hand dyed fabric, fabric, handwoven textile and canvas, 60 x 48 in, 152.40 x 121.92 cm, ©Amanda Valdez 2022

Julia P. Cluff