Valerie Hammond - Organic artist
Valerie Hammond was born in Santa Maria, California. She received her MFA from the University of California at Berkeley, where she was awarded the Eisner Award. She has exhibited in solo shows and group exhibitions in the United States, Europe, China, New Zealand and India.. She currently lives in New York City.
Valerie Hammond maintains an organic, artistic approach whilst interacting with different mediums. In her work, you can see a play between “the material and the immaterial, the physical and the spiritual: the dichotomy between what is seen and the sensation it provokes. The works inhabit a space she is constantly searching for, straddling the indefinable boundary between presence and absence, material and immaterial, consciousness and the unconscious.”
Hammond’s artwork is emblematic not only of the people represented or the subjects she is drawing but of her own evolving techniques
I am particularly drawn to her wax ‘drawings with its two-fold theme of protection. Dried flowers and ferns are encased in a thin layer of wax, preserving their fragile tissues and with e.g. a pair of hands, that represents the moment where the plant was plucked.
This series is ongoing and dates back to the 1990s, when Hammond made the first tracing “partly in response to the death of a dear friend, whose beautiful hands I often found myself remembering.” From this point she continued working with wrists, palms, and fingers of family and friends, interwoven with organic matter and today the series has evolved to featuring dozens of works that either depict hands tethered to the dried plants and the plants spreading organically outward or others that are overlain with thread and glass beads.
From a simple basis Hammond began to overlay the original drawing with pressed florals, creating encaustic assemblages that “echoed the body’s bones, veins, and circulatory systems.”
As the series has developed Valerie Hammond has continued to experiment with various different techniques, including printmaking, Xerox transfers, and Photoshop inversions, that distort the original rendering and shifts her practice.