|M. GIOVANNI VALDERAS
at Janette Kennedy Gallery through March 28th
by Todd Camplin
Janette Kennedy Gallery is an alternative gallery space found at the old Sears building, now
known as Southside on Lamar. The gallery space has a large glass wall looking out over the
artists’ quarter and there is plenty of white wall space to hang work. I haven’t visited the
space in a long while, but M. Giovanni Valderas’ Master of Fine Arts show attracted me
back for a visit.
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|I had the distinct pleasure of going to grad school with M. Giovanni Valderas during the first year of
his MFA program. There is a myth of process that happens during many artists time in grad school.
The first year is often the hardest with the creation of unfocused works or under developed works.
Then sometime during the second or third year an epiphany happens and a change in the work
occurs. In some artists the change is subtle, but in Valderas case, the change was like a giant leap
forward. His early style depicted realistic people and objects interrupted with abstract collage
elements. His MFA show consisted of abstract constructions acting as silhouette to figures and still
lives. This change to further abstract art looks natural, but Valderas will tell you that the process
of reaching this kind of work was a long and hard fought struggle. By dropping the sacredness
and sentimental attachment to the representational image, Valderas gives us something meatier.
|Valderas’ new mix media painting reminds me a great deal of Anselm Kiefer’s works. Both artists
use a kind of suffocated collage element in their works. Kiefer, one of the first pieces you see on
the bottom floor of the Fort Worth Modern, depicts the destruction and the need for healing in
Germany after the war. Valderas’ work is more personal, but no less universal. His divorce and
the distance from his children haunt Valderas’ works. You can feel the pain of loss through his
|A new way home 2012
Acrylic paint, pen, paper, charcoal, pencil, on canvas
H 47” x W 33”
|Seeking a waiver 2011
Acrylic paint, pen, paper, pencil, on canvas
H 63” x W 48”
|Where Kiefer paints the destroyed buildings of the fascist regime, Valderas uses his own cultural cues with elements of the piñata. Valderas lays bare the internal constructions of the piñata as well as
Where Kiefer paints the destroyed buildings of the fascist regime, Valderas uses his own cultural cues
with elements of the piñata. Valderas lays bare the internal constructions of the piñata as well as the
fringe surface, though he leaves the fringe dirty and worn, drained of the festive colors. It would seem
that the violent breaking of the piñata is over and what is left is not candy, but the emotional
wreckage of lives that have to be reassembled and held together with whatever is left.