From September 7-28, 2018, New City Arts presents She Said, He Said, an exhibit of paintings by Valencia Robin and drawings and animation by Matt Smithson.
She Said, He Said brings together two Charlottesville artists whose mark making seeks to give shape to interpretations of worlds seen and unseen, dreamed of and lived in. In Valencia Robin's vibrant, lyrical paintings and Matt Smithson's bold, surreal illustrations, the viewer finds the layered and distant familiarity of dreamscape and memory.
MEET VALENCIA ROBIN
Valencia Robin is a poet, painter and teacher. She holds an MFA in Art & Design from the University of Michigan and a brand new MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Virginia. She is the most recent winner of Persea Books’ Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry; her collection, Ridiculous Light, will be published in April 2019. For more information, please see: valenciarobin.com.
Valencia’s current series of paintings, Seeing & Saying, is a meditation on painting and language. As a painter who is also a poet, she’s often asked what the two forms have in common and she sees this series as an opportunity to pick at that question, to contemplate how painting makes sense of our feelings, thoughts, experiences, tendencies and beliefs. Of course, painting, with its long history, is also a conversation—a sometimes difficult one in relation to women, LGBTQ folks, people of color and other historically oppressed people. Like her poetry, what interests Valencia most about painting is the act of expressing basic human emotions, of trying to give voice to what it is to be alive at this particular moment.
MEET MATT SMITHSON
Matt Smithson is a director, animator, designer, and maker of odd drawings of ghosts and things.
He holds an MFA from Savannah College of Art & Design in Motion Media and a BA from The College Of Charleston where he focused on painting and printmaking.
From humorous, craftily cut animations to uplifting films, Matt directs and animates for clients all over the world, including IBM, Showtime, Airbnb, and MTV, and do-gooders such as The Girl Effect, UNESCO, and the Ford Foundation.
He was recognized in 2009 with a Young Gun award from Art Director's Club, and his work was displayed at the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in New York as part of the "Why Design Now?" Triennial Exhibition.
For more information please see smithmattson.com.
Since I was young, I’ve written down sentences that appear in my head just as my mind is getting quiet and falling asleep. Most of the time they seemed like nonsense, strings of words tied together. I have books and books and books of these, and I got very good at training my mind and waking myself up to write these down. They are bizarre and odd and beautiful at times. I have used these as the starting points to many pieces of work over the past 20 years, dissecting them and interpreting them in different ways, over and over. Through repetition, I see if I can discover meaning in these random thoughts.
For example, I have at least 10 portraits of a person / name that appeared in my head: ’Rene Moir’.
I’ve made drawing after drawing of something called the ‘(post) Swaphollows Dance’.
I started writing these sentences and dreams down when I was 16 or so. Since I began interpreting them, I have grown older, fallen in love and helped bring a new person into the world. I’m affected by the world around me so much more now. And slowly over the past few years the circumstance of the day to day has crept into the sleep.
I now merge the two. I use my volumes of sleep sentences and odd narratives as a starting point. I interpret them differently than I used to, and embrace that.
Now the subjects of my art lie somewhere in between sleep and circumstance.
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