ENGLISH artist Valerie Barden will host a unique and apposite exhibition of paintings – themselves portraits of people visiting public spaces like art galleries – at the Town Mill’s Malthouse Gallery in Lyme Regis, from September 8 to 25.
People in galleries is a subject that has been treated by various artists in the past, but Valerie came to the subject simply by sitting for long periods in art galleries and shopping centres, and thinking of pictures she could make of people standing or sitting fairly still in front of static paintings and objects, of the correspondence between viewer and exhibits, or simply figures as contrasting shapes against interesting architecture. These shapes are her main interest, together with the ever-present challenge of making colour “work”.
Contemporary painter Valerie is now in her eighth decade but showing the skill and vibrancy of an artist half her age. Her work fits into the genre known as paintings of ‘Modern Life’ first explored at the end of the 19th century and beginning of the 20th century.
Although painted in a figurative manner, her work is imbued with the qualities of abstraction and flatness that are hallmarks of modern art. This style, as well as the subject matter, gives them a very contemporary feel.
Born in Buckinghamshire in 1938, Valerie studied Yeovil College of Art and later read Art History with the Open University. She has been exhibiting professionally since 1994 and a number of her paintings are held in the Bridgeman Art Library.
This exhibition, named ‘Galleries’, has been curated by Deborah Wood of The Art Room. It will be open daily from 10.30am to 4.30pm and is free to visit.