Valerie was born in Ogdensburg, New York to a minister and school teacher. She earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the State University of New York in 1985, returning later to earn her Master of Education in 1990. She has since balanced working as an art teacher and a professional artist for over three decades. Her work is psychologically charged, often with a child at the epicenter, in contrast to the slightly fantastical, surreal elements around them. Her crisp, somewhat linear style is present throughout her work, lending an odd sense of solidity and finality to the scenes. Valerie is now an award-winning artist, exhibiting extensively across the United States for decades at this point. She has been featured on television through PBS, as well as illustrated books and magazines.
I create highly refined watercolor paintings that often explode with psychological resonance – with a sensitivity towards beauty and strength achieved through truth and honesty. My work is a continuing search for deep understanding of the human condition – fascinating in its capacity for great kindness and mercy yet also great malevolence. Throughout my body of work: children repeatedly symbolize vulnerability and an unfeigned soul, connections between past and present are examined through the manipulation of black and white with color, and realistic and fantastic images may be juxtaposed to fabricate a surreal certainty. I strive to give voice to difficult social and political subjects in an attempt to encourage thought, emotion and dialogue.
Valerie’s paintings exhibit tight control, such that even the more abstract color choices don’t feel out of place. Fantasy blends with reality, color becomes associated with motion, and grayscale evokes a feeling of being frozen in time.