Saturday, February 6, 2016
Chiaroscuro is a dreamscape that pulls us in and holds us there. A little light penetrates giving us a clue, but still some anxiety remains as we scramble to piece the thing together. That ray of light is like a thought that travels slowly and unblinkingly and like a magic wand, reveals or conceals. In the portrait drawings of Fred Valentine, that ray is an eraser that extracts facts and feelings from a velvety dark ground and it’s wondering path illuminates psychically charged spaces. Forms appear or might move left or right in a moment with random pentimento or full out original demarcation left in its wake and become charged as they call up an eye, a mouth or a gesture in his subjects. These drawings set things down but also hesitate, as if to run the audio needle over a record a little backward and forward, to pause and recall and to let things settle. As they find their groove, these powerful drawings, hung here as if to recall a classical figure hall, memorialize the quiet existence of everyday people in a soft dust filled breath.
Fred Valentine on these works: “The subjects in these drawings are real people that range from my daughter and other relatives to friends and people that I’ve worked with. There are also those with mild to severe forms of developmental and or psychiatric impairments. These people I knew while working as part of a clinical team at sheltered facilities and day treatment centers. I won’t tell you who is who as knowing that can often diminish a view of their strength and humanity. I want them to be anonymous. What you see is what you know. They all have their stories and history of course. Some sweet and tender others damaged and horrific. These are people that I’ve known and cared about to one degree or another. They were all made in the early 1990s. They sat with me and we talked. I first tried making a few quick sketches and jotting down some notes but soon realized that that made them uneasy and on guard. So with a very long cable release attached to my camera I would take a few random photos here and there as we were talking. I worked directly from the photos but I didn’t project them. With these particular drawings I began by taping the paper to the wall and then covering the entire surface with a few layers of charcoal. Then through a process of erasing and adding, scratching and scraping the figure slowly comes into existence. It is a kind of excavation. I get to know them very well. I looked in they looked out, creating the emotional intimacy that I wanted.”
Schema Projects is proud to present “The Pumpkin Festival and other portraits”, charcoal drawings on paper. The show will open Jan 22 and run through February 28th, 2016, Saturday & Sunday 1- 6pm. Opening reception Friday, Jan 22 6-9pm. For more information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, Mary Judge 718 578 3281.