international drawing annual 5 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Valerie Jenkins
Minneapolis, Minnesota

College of Visual Art, Associate Professor

pages 90-92


Drawing for me is a way of engaging the physical gesture of making through repetition, duration and concentration. With a commitment to a rigorous process that engages the eye, hand and thought, I employ an intensely detailed method that is contemplative, layered and persistent in its exacting demands.

What I seek to discover through the process of drawing are the moments of negotiation that take place between impulse and restraint; between the objective calculation of systems and methodologies and the subjectivity of intuition and memory. The slowness of my process allows for seeing the page as a flat surface and seeing it, as the marks multiply, as an emerging fullness or presence. The directness of graphite on paper heightens the primacy of touch and the marks record time and weight within the force and pressure of my hand.

My current body of work began from an interest in the piles of shredded paper that regularly accumulate in my home and at my work place. I gathered several large trash bags full of the paper shreds took them to my studio and began drawing the piles from observation, in the manner of drawing from a still life.

The large drawing entitled "Prologue - Part 1" created this year, represents the direction I am continuing with this body of work.  I am increasing the scale of the work while retaining the rudimentary associations to picturing making inherent in the figure/ground relations. The scale of the work is important to the physical experience of space and the recognition of subtle variations that push and pull the eye. The large scale of "Prologue- Part 1" is beginning to heighten the connections between literal and acquired meaning creating an image or space that exists somewhere between the everyday and the unfamiliar. While I work from observing the real world of mass, light and shadow, I am ultimately interested in the abstract qualities in the work. With the recent drawing, my curiosity has increased regarding the potential connections the drawings could make in reference to both the heroic abstraction of Jackson Pollock's splattered surfaces and the quantifiable language of abstraction relating to fractals or wavelengths.

Shredding paper is a contemporary ritual.  Repetition involved in the act of shredding suggests subtractive actions while the drawing process reverses that action, thus creating a mirror reflecting the ebb and flow of daily life.



born:1958, St. Joseph, Michigan


University of Minnesota, MFA 1991
Grand Valley State University, BFA 1985

selected awards/honors

Minnesota State Arts Board Fellowship, 2003
McKnight Foundation Visual Arts Fellowship, 2002
National Endowment for the Arts - Midwest Individual Artists Fellowship, 1996
Forecast Public Arts/Research and Development Grant, 1994

selected publications

Exhibition Catalog, McKnight Foundation, Essay by Micheal Fallon. 2003
Minneapolis Star Tribune, "Fellow Travelers," by Mary Abbe. 2003
Minneapolis Star Tribune, " These Artists are doing it..." by Doug Hanson. 2000

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Tucker Cooke Gallery, University of NC: "Drawing Discourse." Ashville, NC 2010
MIssouri State University art ad Design Gallery: Drawing Today. Springfield, Missouri, 2007
James Wegner Art Gallery: Between the Real and the Imaginary. Riverland College, Austin MN 2005
Foster Gallery Proliferation - site specific drawing installation." University of Wisconsin, Eau Claire 2004

selected group shows

Minneapolis College of Art and Design gallery: McKnight Fellowship exhibition. Minneapolis, MN 2003
Minnesota State Arts Board: fellowship exhibition. St, Paul, MN 2004
Soap factory: Necessary Differences. Minneapolis, MN 2000
College of Visual Art Gallery: Faculty exhibitions. St. Paul, MN 2001 - 2010

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