Don’t Miss: Anna Valdez, “Works Sighted” at Hashimoto Contemporary

by Admin on 06/14/2017

Through bright and colorful, and deeply introspective paintings depicting seemingly simple observational still lifes, Oakland artist Anna Valdez examines how predominantly Western aesthetic history, as well as personal identity, is visually represented through individually-curated objects within domestic spaces and common objects. Both large and small paintings in “Works Sighted,” her solo show on view at Hashimoto Contemporary, Valdez creates, one might say, evocative portraits without a face, or portraits of things that have faces within things used and seen everyday.

Valdez describes herself as an artist influenced by her background in anthropology. The exhibition title, “Works Sighted” seems like a perfect orientation to represent her seamless blend of these two: a homophonic title, referring perhaps to both “Works Cited,” often inserted into academic papers acknowledging source material for a finished thesis, as well as the title spelling itself: physical works posited on view. It now relates both a wider community as well as to a personal, individual orientation of influences composing the whole. These compositions silently analyze cultural histories and traditions in an attempt to understand the magnitude, and consequently the degree of influence of a collective culture within one’s own personal life and identity.

Fragments of what look like roman or grecian eyes, feet, and small busts of anonymous classical faces juxtaposed with postcards of modern art masterpieces; living things such as potted plants, domesticated birds placed alongside skulls and shells of other animals. Death and life, history and modernity within the same composition creates a dynamic, intriguing conflation of time and space. The additional use of a leaf-patterned wallpaper in the gallery space is a further creative means in obfuscating the seriousness, and of a pointed idea thrust at the visitor by eliminating the starkness and intimidation of a typical white gallery into more of a familiar, even perhaps domestic space, like those depicted in her work.  The works are, as Valdez says, “invention through observation,” creating each still life as parts that create the whole of a personal and collective selfhood.


Anna Valdez, “Works Sighted” will be on view at Hashimoto Contemporary, 804 Sutter Street, San Francisco through June 24.