Friday, November 2, 2007

The Artful Home: Val Britton

As with so many good things lately, I first encountered Berkeley artist Val Britton's work at Oakland's Johannson Projects Gallery during one of the Oakland Art Murmur's First Fridays (if you're around, don't miss tonight's event).

I was transfixed by her delicately traced and layered, softly stained, and intricately cut and stitched paper map collages, which seemed to evoke some strange, unknown -- and unknowable -- geography.

"The impetus ... was my longing to connect to my father, a truck driver who drove eighteen-wheelers across the country hauling industrial machinery. He died over ten years ago," the recent California College of the Arts MFA writes. "Based on road maps of the U.S., routes my father often traveled, and an invented conglomeration, mutation, and fragmentation of those passageways, my works ... help me piece together the past and make up the parts I cannot know."

Call it the terrain of the human heart.

See more of Britton's work here. (And if you're in the area, you can see her pieces in person at the group show There's No Place Like Here, being held at the Sonoma State University Art Gallery through December 9.)


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