AboutContemporary Art Projects is pleased to present Hideaway, the first solo exhibition of work by Covadonga Valdes since 1999. Ms. Valdes crossed a threshold three years ago by taking a decision to work only in extremely intricate detail; as a consequence each painting takes several months to plan and execute. This will be the long-awaited show of a comprehensive body of work, coming on the back of positive public reception for work selected by the Royal Academy, the John Moores Liverpool Museums, and the National Portrait Gallery.
At a glance, the paintings can be easily dismissed as well executed but rather pedestrian landscapes?let?s move on, nothing of interest here, darling. Only on closer examination does the image begin to come into question. The focal distances don?t make sense; while extremely accurate in isolation, they are totally askew on the picture plane, causing dislocation and disorientation within the viewer.
In ?Target?, veins on individual leaves are depicted quite clearly, even though the trees are located far in the distance. In ?Edge?, the viewer feels his neck craning far over the edge of the sea cliff from a position safely back behind the metal rails. In ?The View?, the figure at the window should be much more evident, given that every blade of grass in the surrounding lawn can be individually counted.
These are no accidents of accomplishment. Rooted in the twin spirits of hyper-realism and surrealism with a bit of voyeurism and surveillance thrown in for good measure, the result enables the viewer to see urban parkland settings COMPLETELY from the artist?s unique vantage point. Convent school training provides the strict discipline and monumental effort required to satisfy the viewers? scrutiny without resolving into artistic convention. As a result, the work is unlikely to become the next fashionable trend in contemporary art; nevertheless, it makes a significant entry in the cultural matrix.
Covadonga Valdes was born in Asturias, Spain and lives and works in London. She studied at Chelsea College (BA) and Slade (MFA). Ms. Valdes? work will be seen in a touring solo show in Northern Spain later this year. We are grateful to the Cultural Office of the Spanish Embassy in London for supporting this exhibition of its native daughter. To accompany the exhibition, a text by Blanca Garay, MA student at London College of Communication, will be available in Spanish and English on the website and in the gallery.