New Exhibit – Roots and Refuge by Valerie C. White

New Exhibit – Roots and Refuge by Valerie C. White

November 5th - March 1st, 2022

Artist Statement

My art tells stories that I feel are important, connecting spirituality, tradition, and nature. Growing up in a family that loved and respected the earth was an enormous influence. My parents cultivated a fall and summer garden, and enjoyed the process of working in "good soil". They were my early inspiration and the beginning of my love affair with roots, clay, and wildflowers.

Attending Howard University in Washington DC in 1969 changed my life. It was at Howard that I fell in love with myself. The experience was rich with historical references and powerful images. MY professors were some of the most influential African American artists of their time. They encouraged me to find my own voice. I see their influence and design sensibilities in my work. I am committed to creating positive images that celebrate my ancient culture.

It is the process of creating compositions that suggest multiple layers that fascinates me. I'm attempting to produce cloth that mysterious and opulent; the idea of seeing almost invisible images created by color and stitch intrigues me.

I appreciate and enjoy working in a series. For me a series provides an opportunity to explore different aspects of an idea or subject. In this Roots and Refuge series, I'm encouraging one to consider roots as metaphors. Roots, like people, are intertwined and connected. My intent is to challenge the viewer to see the beauty and complexity of roots. As I moved forward with the work, questions arose: Are the shapes and colors of roots influenced by where they grow? Would the roots under a church where there are many prayers be different from those that grow under a school? Lately, who was there before the roots?

Below Sacred Ground by Valerie C. White

About the Artist

Valerie C. White lives in Denver, CO, and has been creating mixed media art quilts for more than two decades.

Valerie's work is in numerous publications and private collections internationally. She has recently featured in The SAQA ( Studio Art Quilt Associates) Journal; By Hand 2019, a look book featuring artists from around the country; The Art Quilting Studio Journal, Summer 2017; The Lowry Aviator 2016, a community-based publication; and Fabrigasm 2021, a publication dedicated to lovers of African Textiles. Valerie's work has also appeared in several books by acclaimed author, curator, and artist Dr Carolyn Maazloomi.

In 1998, Valerie retired from the District of Columbia Public Schools in Washington DC after 25 years of committed service as an Art educator and Guidance Counselor. Valerie earned a B.F.A. from Howard University in Washington DC and an M.A in Guidance and Counseling from Virginia Polytechnic University in Blacksburg, Va.

She continues to share her passion for textiles by presenting lectures, teaching national and devoting her time to creating art in her home studio.


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