ARTIST STATEMENT

I am Valentina Vicario born in 1978 in Barcelona to Argentinian parents.

I’ve been an artist as long as I can remember. Even as a small girl I was an avid observer of nature, of human interactions and architecture, known in the family for taking interest in everything; sculpting, creating flavours, painting, jewellery, learning about scientific and biological advances or discussing art and architecture.

I feel a strong connection with the styles and works of famous artists such as Aubrey Beardsley, Frida Khalo, Gustav Klimpt, Marc Chagall and Barbara Hepworth, to name a few. Although these are very different artists they all speak to me on a deeply personal level. I see my aesthetic in their work so am drawn to it and their life stories. I love life and it’s passions and intend on sharing my point of view through artistic self-expression.

Born in Barcelona in 1978 to Anabella Pellens and Ricardo Vicario, my parents were escaping the military government in Argentina at a time when a vast number of freethinking people were being killed and their children adopted by military families. We travelled through Europe and partook as extras in a ‘Jesus’ film in Jerusalem. This ancient city had an early influence on me and I have fleeting memories that will stay with me forever.

Once the politics calmed down we move back to Argentina and my parents split when I was 3 years old. Argentina is a vast country of various landscapes and vistas that inevitably shaped some of my artistic drive. The countryside, with its expansive pampas, mountains and rivers were etched onto my unconscious. These early experiences have equipped me with a range of sensations that inevitably end up being expressed through my work although what followed made me even more determined to fight for my rights as a female human being.

A broken family upbringing taught me some tough lessons and I found strength through self-expression. I found familiarity in the Complete Works of Lewis Carroll, creating fantasy worlds in my writing and art alluding to the true macabre reality of my life, helped me get through some of the toughest times as a child under attack from a depraved paedophile. These pieces were a method of catharsis for me. Art has allowed me to deal with emotions that would have otherwise been destructive. Mental tension, emotional insecurity and the mortality of the human condition were all concepts that I had to deal with from a very young age. The helplessness of childhood hindered further by adults in my life created traumatic experiences that have shaped me as a person and artist. The concepts of light and dark, truth and lies, life and death are evident in my work. Without art I would not have been able to sublimate the trauma I experienced as a child. Art is life and life is Art!

 

Later as my style developed through exploration of materials and processes I fixated somewhat on Symbolic Art. Expressionism lent itself perfectly to the idea of Art connecting with the collective subconscious and reflecting one’s inner emotional life, and so I meld genres to create the desired effect. Colour is utilized only as a vehicle to force inner battles. I execute each piece accordingly endowing it aspects of myself, candid exposures of my private life.

I enjoy universal symbolism utilizing it to explore the contrasting emotions evoked by living, loving, feeling pain and anticipating death.  My methods are varied for creating art innovatively, a ‘build up’ of the piece occurs, a ritualistic experience of expressing in various different forms of art: paint, sculpture, textile arts, fashion, quilting, pottery or paper-making, bringing forth facets of my emotions and personality. Nothing is coincidental. Mind and body connect to produce evocative shape and imagery that jolts, reminds and inspires the viewer to reflect on themselves or simply admire my honesty.

At times I enjoy the up-cycling and adaptation of obsolete materials that would otherwise be discarded and sent to landfill or packed away never to be seen again. The act of breathing new life into otherwise useless things and inspiring my audience to engage with my pieces, to want to touch and possess and at times even take part and create part of the piece/experience is so thrilling it is one type of project I will continue to pursue and seek out.

A theme that I return to repeatedly is Reflections of the Soul, this is a concept based partly on Jungian Psychology, it is the only way I can scientifically explain the Shamanistic nature of some of my work. I have had some dreams that came true and my 20-year relationship with Louis Leitch is a testament to that foresight. (I know it’s weird!) Those visions and dreams have added a dramatic warrior nature to my Art and it’s with dignity that I expose myself to the world, hopefully with poise and knowledge. I bring the world a special story of struggle and survival, of power and intrigue that’s barely begun to unfold.