First Fridays in the Exchange is a great way to experience the art of Winnipeg and Canada. Through the opportunity to visit the local galleries and some of the studios of local artists gives one a great insight into the creation of art. I have enjoyed many ‘First Fridays in the Exchange’ but decided to take in my first Art Talk/Walk. The decision was simple as the artist speaking was Andrew Valko. I have written a previous post in regards to Andrew’s work as his work speaks to me and makes those powerful statements in regards to our current cultural condition.
The evening was organized by Sarah Swan who did an excellent job moderating our conversation with Andrew. I recommend reading her article entitled “Artists work of female nudes convey dark societal theme” found in the Winnipeg Free Press on July 2, 2013. In her article she quotes Valko as saying “Some of the nudity in the work is there to support the narrative of the paintings. Through my work, I am making a comment about our cultural practice of objectification rather than becoming just another example of it.” For me the longer I gaze at his painting the more the messages he tries to convey speak to me. Last night Valko indicated that all his works start from an idea and then through his realism and look into the alternate realities often depicted in his pieces. In his works he is not only able to capture that moment in time but gives the viewer an opportunity to create their story about what happened just before and what will happen after. Giving his painting a life of their own beyond the social commentary he is making through his art.
The attention to detail in his paintings, the use of alternate lightening to create warm and cool all on the same canvas help make his pieces breathe with life. His paintings as Sarah Swan stated last night ‘Haunt her’. The haunting is a result of the message that his works speak to her.
Though the woman in Holiday Inn Afternoon lies on the bed in her bra and see-through panties, her partner, fully clothed, turns his back to her. There is unhappiness, anger, rejection, and loads of consequence. The series about young women undressing for webcams is at first glance as provocative as any soft-porn image. Awash in the blue glow of the computer screen, these young women are supple, voluptuous and brazen. At second glance, the paintings are lonely and sad, making a dark comment about a disturbing cultural trend.
Andrew Valko doesn’t need to apologize for the emotions his works bring to the viewer of his pieces but needs to celebrate the emotions it brings to the individual. His ‘Art Speaks’. What it says to me or Sarah Swan or any of the other people at the Free Press Cafe last night will be different. Without a doubt his Art will be timeless. A recording to some of the social issues and complexities present in our society today. Our longing for love and acceptance but in his pieces that love is not found.
A bonus to the evening was the opportunity to dine with local artist Sue Gordon. Last month I was at her showing at Gurevich Fine Art called ‘Far Country’. Later in the evening I had the opportunity to visit her studio and listen to her speak of the ancient art of creating her pieces through the use of wax. Her tiny studio was packed with admirers of her pieces. I certainly look forward to the time one of her pieces can hang on the wall of my office and then home.
A wish for the evening would have been to have one or two of Andrew’s pieces there to view. Although the images on the screen led to conversation one cannot truly appreciate his attention to detail without seeing the painting in person. Perhaps a visit to Mayberry Fine Art would have been another option as he has a few of his pieces on display there.
I am also a big fan of the Free Press Cafe and love their breakfasts and lunches but the meal was just ordinary. Fortunately, I would have paid just to hear Andrew Valko so any food was a bonus.