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
September 1 - October 14
Opening Reception & Artist's Talk
September 1 at 12 p.m. in-person
Q&A with the Artist
September 7 at 12 p.m. via Zoom
Amanda Valdez & Dr. Noga Bernstein in Conversation
October 13 at 9 a.m. ET via Zoom
In her debut Maine exhibition Breaking Wave, New York City-based artist Amanda Valdez exhibits a series of new works created especially for the geometric, multi-level space of the Charles Danforth Gallery at the University of Maine at Augusta.
The exhibition’s title references the ways Valdez's works create and then break down linear structures with organic shapes, but also the ways curvilinear shapes spring from the strictures 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 weaving diagrams) 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 of painting.
Valdez’s works have recently been shown in solo exhibitions at the Landing Gallery in Los Angeles in 2021, where her show was an Artforum “Critics’ Pick,” at Koki Arts in Tokyo, Japan in 2020, and at the Heckscher Museum on 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 Denny Dimin Gallery in New York and the Landing Gallery in Los Angeles.
Amanda Valdez: Breaking Wave features four new large-scale works constructed of hand-woven textiles on a floor loom, quilted fabrics, embroidery, and paint that are based on the precise geometric notations of weaving diagrams and quilting patterns that play on the square format of the gallery itself. Starting with the regular squares of graph paper, Valdez creates patterns for her works that shift between woven passages, quilted sections, embroidery, and organic painted shapes.
Steeped in the histories of art and textile design, Valdez’s works reference the Modernist devotion to grids while exploring ways such linear constraints have led to creative breakthroughs, whether in Minimal and Conceptual art movements of the 1960s and 70s 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 has studied extensively at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, in her interviews with visionary artists like Sheila Hicks, and in her residency at the New Roots Foundation in Guatemala. Her work is also deeply connected with the American Pattern & Decoration Movement that began in the early 1970s, and especially its canonical artists like Valerie Jaudon and Judy Ledgerwood.
Joining art history and craft traditions, Valdez’s work represents a new synthesis of material and concept. As art historian and curator Dr. Lisa D. Frieman wrote in her 2021 essay for the artist’s catalog, Gratitude, “Valdez has developed her own conceptual language that reveals materially how diverse aesthetic media and practices, such as fabric, sewing, quilting, and weaving, absorbed from different times and cultures, can rigorously coexist with abstract painting and drawing.” (24) Breaking Wave demonstrates the ways Valdez's joining of weaving, quilting, drawing, and painting together can “break” the grid’s linear constraints and remake them, creating a new fabric in the space of our present.