Valerie Hammond

As an artist I have found that process is a fundamental part of my work. In practice this means that I might have ideas about where my work is going, but often the physical process of the work informs what actually happens in my studio. I am interested in evoking sensation and making work which is corporeal in nature. While the figures and portraits may begin to point towards or suggest sentiment, it is important to me that the work is not sentimental but experiential.

Growing up in a small agricultural community in California, my exposure to cultural institutions was limited, at best. I have always been drawn to places and objects that are full of mystery. Some of my most significant visual influences were images I saw in church. While the religious aspect of my church experience was less pressing, the visual cues at church were what kept my attention. I am fascinated by shrines and ex-votos-devotional votive objects that families make to show love and respect. These objects inspire the type of physical intimacy that holds my artistic practice. Asian art is also a strong influence on my work. From Tibetan medical drawings to Buddhist sculptures, I find myself looking to ancient forms for inspiration. Gesture often plays a most prominent role for these artists-as it does for me-whether it plays out in a small aspect of the image or is its essence, as with the images of hands.

Layering is another essential aspect of my work. Whether this is seen or perceived as physical or contextual, my interest is in combining the literal and emotional qualities that are evoked through the physical process of layering. I begin by collecting ferns and other organic materials, transforming them through drawing and the printmaking process, creating images that marry the ferns with images of the body. These images reflect the uniqueness of individual hands, as well as reveal the tracing of the spirit. The process, in which the image itself is submerged in a tray of heated wax, metaphorically removes the image from the world of the living but paradoxically preserves it indefinitely. The images act as mechanisms to stop time-to document a moment in a person life-an open meditation on portraiture.

- Valerie Hammond , 2011

2008 Valerie Hammond, Twilight…contes de fees, Garson Baker Fine Art, New York, NY
2008 The Beast In Me, Bowman Bloom Gallery, New York, NY
2008 New Prints Fall 2008, International Print Center, New York, NY
2008 E/AB Fine Print Fair, New Editions, The Brodsky Center, New York, NY
2008 Propagating Eden: Uses and Techniques of Nature Printing in Botany and Art, International Print Center, New York, NY
2008 Peace, Sideshow Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2008 NEXT Art Fair, Cue Art Foundation, Chicago, IL
2008 Art Chicago, Wildwood Press, Chicago, IL
2007 Corpo-real, Book as Body, Body as Book, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ
2007 The Big Draw, site-specific public drawing project at Teardrop Park, The Drawing Center, New York, NY
2007 Ten Years of Wildwood Press, Bennington College, Bennington, VT
2007 Tease, Garson Fine Arts, New York, NY
2007 Emily Dickinson Rendered, Glyndor Gallery, Wave Hill, Bronx, NY
2007 Valerie Hammond Works in Progress, Wildwood Press, St. Louis, MO
2007 Ether Valerie Hammond, Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2006 Valerie Hammond, curated by Kiki Smith, The Cue Foundation, New York, NY
2006 Colectiva Diciembre-Emero, Michel Soskine Inc., Madrid, Spain
2006 Hair, Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2006 Valerie Hammond, M% Gallery, Cleveland, OH
2006 Art 212, M% Gallery, New York, NY
2006 Valerie Hammond and Mary Mcfarland, NG Gallery, Christchurch, New Zealand
2006 Flow Art Fair, M% Gallery, Miami, FL
2005 De Balthus a Zeller, Michel Soskine Inc., Madrid, Spain
2005 Tracings, Valerie Hammond, Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2005 Valerie Hammond/Kim Cridler; Tracings, Weber State University, Ogden, UT
2005 Scope New York, M% Gallery, New York, NY
2005 Pulp, Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY
2005 New Prints 2005/Spring Selected by Kiki Smith, International Print Center, New York, NY
2005 Encaustic Works 2005, Sammuel Dorsky Museum, New Paltz, NY
2004 Means, RKL Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2004 Valerie Hammond and Judy Pfaff, M% Gallery, Cleveland, OH
2004 Valerie Hammond and Judy Pfaff, M% Gallery, Cleveland, OH
2004 Multiple Encounters, Indira Gandhi National Center for the Arts, New Delhi, India, traveling to Jawahar, Kala Dendra, Jaipur, Dala Akadeni, Goa, Dirla Akadeni of Fine Arts, and Calcutta
2003 Valerie Hammond, Memento, Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2003 Meander, M% Gallery, Cleveland, OH
2003 Garden of Compassion, Lisa Sette Gallery, Scottsdale, AZ
2002 25th Small Works, 80 Washington Square East Galleries (Jury Prize), New York, NY
2002 Yale Faculty Show, Norfolk, CT
2002 Small Packages, Cumberland Gallery, Nashville, TN
2002 Winter Show, Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY
2001 Work of Papers, Carrie Haddad Gallery, Hudson, NY
2001 Memory, Brewery Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2000 Prints 2000, Holland Tunnel Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
2000 Waxing Poetic Encaustic Art in America, Montclair Art Museum, Montclair, NJ and Knoxville Art Museum, Knoxville, TN
1999 Valerie Hammond and Lisa Lawley, The Panting Center, New York, NY
1998 Location, Kendall Fine Art, Hudson, NY
1997 The Altered Image, Islip Art Museum, NY
1996 A Sense of Order, The Painting Center, NY
1994 Woman’s Drawings, Council of the Arts Gallery, Catskill, NY

Recent Interview with Valerie Hammond by Jeana Sohn from Design*Sponge

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large prints

small prints and drawings


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. Upon graduation she moved to New York City and subsequently, was appointed to her first teaching position through the Cleveland Institute of Art in Lacoste, France. She lived in France on and off for the next three years. Upon returning to New York, she began teaching inner city school children art part time through the Studio in a School program. Hammond has taught printmaking at Columbia University, New York University, the Yale Norfolk Program; drawing at Cooper Union School of Art, and has been a visiting art critic at RISD. Most recently, she has had exhibitions in Madrid, New Zealand, New Delhi, as well as the M Gallery in Cleveland, OH, The Lisa Sette Gallery in Scottsdale, AZ, and Weber State University, in Ogden, UT. Hammond lives and works in the Lower East Side of New York City with her husband and two children.

Valerie Hammond has always been drawn to places and objects that are full of mystery. The expressive and devotional qualities of church shrines, ex-votos, and Asian art ranging from Tibetan medical drawings to Buddhist sculptures have served as inspiration for the artist. As spiritual objects, they possess the ability to impart on the viewer a sense of enchantment grounded by human connectivity, and this offering of transformation echoes Hammond's desire to record both the tangible and elusive aspects of the human condition in her work.