11101 Highway One, Ste. 1101
Point Reyes Station, CA 94956

Open 11 AM – 5 PM
Thursday – Monday


February 17 – March 17, 2024

Layers of Secrets represents low-relief sculptures and recycled objects probing psychological aspects of mental health including personal loss, depression and anxiety, domestic and child abuse, and isolation.

The human figure has been the primary focus in my paintings, drawings and low-relief sculptures since the early seventies. While probing into the psychological and narrative aspects of depicting people, I discovered working in clay to be an ideal vehicle for expressing emotional themes. This new direction eventually evolved into a series of low-relief sculptures combined with recycled objects and opened up the opportunity for investigating personal symbolism on a far deeper level, something that periodically alluded me when painting similar narratives on canvas.

Over time, I became fascinated with the ancient Roman funerary sculptures (stelae and sarcophagi), Auguste Rodin’s “The Gates of Hell,” Lorenzo Ghirberti’s bronze doors “The Gates of Paradise,” Joseph Cornell’s mystical shadow boxes and the incredible assemblage artwork of Betye Saar. Also inspirational are ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ and Medieval reliquaries, which were ornate containers for small relics.

Eventually, my work evolved into creating personal reliquaries containing symbolic relics from my past—veiled memories representing personal loss, isolation, abandonment issues and betrayals. Depending upon the theme of each reliquary, various recycled items are selected, such as vintage curios, old watches and gears, aged hardware, children’s alphabet blocks, bones, and ornate frame corners. These items are then positioned within handcrafted wooden containers, along with the low-relief sculptures. The inclusion of recycled objects is important for two reasons—first, the symbology of each item helps reinforce the theme being represented, and second, I am intrigued with the idea of taking neglected or discarded objects and re-channeling them into a works of art giving them a new purpose.

Artist Bio: Valerie L. Winslow is a contemporary figurative artist whose work has been exhibited in museums and galleries nationwide since the mid-seventies. Winslow’s painting style has been described as “Introspective Realism,” while her mixed-media art—figurative sculpture with recycled objects—explores darker psychological themes. Winslow refers to the mixed media work as The Reliquary Series because they contain symbolic relics of entombed memories from her past pertaining to personal loss, depression and anxiety issues, domestic and child abuse, and isolation.The work also includes her introspective observation of what is currently occurring in the world around us –the pandemic and lock-down issues, global concerns, corporate exploitation of its workers, government meddling and gender inequality.

Valerie L. Winslow is a 2024 Visiting Artist

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