Linda Warren Projects is proud to usher in 2013 with exhibitions by gallery artists Ed Valentine and Michael Stillion. Though both painters engage portraiture on the surface, each artist spins off from that trope, transcending the figure and presenting viewers with differing conceptual points of entry. In Ed Valentine’s “Somebody’s Beauty” in Gallery Y, and Michael Stillion’s “B.Z.C: Bent, Zigzag and Crooked” in Gallery X, both artists build pictures upon frameworks with endless potential for painting production.
“Someone once told me that whenever they get close to understanding what my work is about I seem to pull the rug out from under them,” Ohio-based artist Ed Valentine explains of his Untitled Portraits, which have for years continually eluded straightforward readings. The strokes of spray paint, dripping lines, flat shapes and patches of expertly rendered, highly-representational features lead to no theoretical or academic conclusion; rather, they serve to spark the imagination and lead to less fixed, more complex modes of interpretation.
In Untitled Portrait with Blue Drip and Painted Hat, Valentine has chosen to take the emphasis off of an individualized, but anonymous subject, and reinforce the rest of what is to be discovered within the painting. Her left eye is carefully painted, staring directly at the viewer while the right is rendered loosely, focused on something unseen beyond the canvas. Her hat has the simplest suggestion of volume, her blouse merely a series of flattened circles, and her mouth smeared with an expressionist blotch of mustard yellow. Valentine challenges his viewers to collect and consider these disparate formal elements and glean from them moments of humor, universality, intrigue and wonder.
Ed Valentine was born in Columbus, Ohio, 1951. After attending The Columbus College of Art and Design, he left without a degree and moved to NYC in 1979 where he exhibited in such venues as The Palladium, The Knitting Factory, Bess Cutler Gallery, The Phyllis Kind Gallery and Avenue B Gallery in the East Village. While in NYC, Valentine was invited by the punk band The Ramones to do artwork on their tenth album, "Ramones Mania." In 1991 Valentine returned to Ohio and soon received a Bachelors degree from The Columbus College of Art and Design and a Masters degree from The Ohio State University. He has shown throughout the United States, Europe, The United Arab Emirates and Japan and has appeared in numerous catalogs and publications including reviews in Cover Arts New York, The East Village Eye, 108 East Village Review, The L. A. Times, Art Week Los Angeles, The San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Bay Guardian, The San Francisco Examiner and The Columbus Dispatch. Valentine is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Art at O.S.U. Lima.