By Angela Romeo
Mandalas appear in many spiritual and religious beliefs. They even appear in Jungian psychology. The mandala seeks to establish a space, an opening, between worlds. Valerie Davis uses the mandala as the starting point of her journey. Like a mandala’s draws, Valerie’s imagery succeeds at the same task.
“My paintings appear abstract but upon closer examination figurative aspects emerge,” said Valerie. While a figure may appear, it is the translucent quality of the work allows the figure to morph in the chosen color palette. In achieving the translucent quality Valerie uses, what some may consider being an odd medium, hot glue as a textural element. “The flow of the glue and its opacity lends a unique layer to the work,” she noted. “I purchased my first glue gun simply to glue things together. I saw the potential for creating textures and happened to be out of my usual plaster like media so I began to experiment.”
“Because the glue is acrylic-based, it bonds well with acrylic paint. It is transparent and lends itself well to my technique of layering semitransparent paint. The textures that can be created with hot glue are endless. Hot glue dries extremely fast and can be molded into shapes while cooling. Traditional gel mediums have a longer drying time and a much more limited range of textures. I’m only beginning to explore the possibilities!”
Valerie’s work evokes the feminine mystique – not in the sense of the unfulfilled ennui that Betty Friedan introduced into contemporary culture, but rather as the endless possibilities of the female. “While I don’t consider my work political, I do approach it from a spiritual viewpoint. I attempt to become a channel for the art rather than imposing preconceived ideas.”
“Many of the female forms that appear in my work are in the process of transformation. The Birdwoman is a recurring theme. It corresponds to self-transformation and the shedding of negative thought patterns and belief systems. For me the female forms in my art represent the sacred power of the feminine that emanates from all living things.”
Valerie also works with natural wood forms to create organic compositions. “I retain the natural shape of the wood and combine plant, animal, and mineral forms to create organic synergy,” said Valerie. “The sculptural forms relate to the mandalas in the sense that the organic form of the wood contains inherent images in the same way that the geometric framework of the mandala contains images. I deliberately choose wood with interesting texture and shapes and I also choose wood that has a certain type of energy. My favorites are Manzanita and Buckeye.”
“As an artist, I have a power to influence but it is rather limited. I could make politically themed art if I choose to but other artists are already doing it, probably better than I could. I think that creating spiritually uplifting art that contains the energy of Nature and the Earth Goddess can be a very positive thing for people to experience.”
Valerie is clear in her objective: “As an artist I choose to offer something positive rather than fighting something negative.”
Valerie resides in Yucca Valley. She has participated in the Highway 62 Open Studio Art Tours for 10 years, and will be participating in the 2017 Highway 62 tour.
For more information on Valerie visit https://www.facebook.com/people/Valerie-Davis
For more information on the upcoming 16th Annual Highway 62 Artists Open Studio Tour visit www.hwy62arttours.org. The tour runs October 14-15 and October 21-22. 2017. The Art Tours features many of the talented artists of the Morongo Basin and is hosted by the Morongo Basin Cultural Arts Council.