• 5 February 2023 17:39

Valerie Brathwaite: WHERE HAVE ALL THE FLOWERS GONE?

Italiano (Italian)

Henrique Faria, 35 East 67th Street 4th Floor, New York, NY  10065
Sept. 9 – Oct. 24, 2021
Hours Tuesday to Saturday 11 am to 6 pm
Info www.henriquefaria.com  eugenia@henriquefaria.com

Henrique Faria New York present Where Have All The Flowers Gone?, Valerie Brathwaite’s first solo exhibition with the gallery. This presentation brings together a selection of works in different media that span from the late 1960s to 2021. The exhibition takes its title from a piece created by Brathwaite in 2018-2019, named after the widely interpreted song of the same name written in 1955 by Peter Seeger, that closely relates to the cyclical nature of life and art.

Valerie Marie Brathwaite was born in San Fernando, Trinidad and Tobago, in 1940. She came of age as an artist in Europe during her formative years while studying interior design and art at Hornsey College of Art and The Royal College of Art in London, and at the École des Beaux Arts in Paris between 1959 and 1964. Encouraged by Gego (Gertrude Goldschmidt), a fellow female immigrant artist whom she had met during a visit to Caracas in 1969, Brathwaite moved to Venezuela that same year where she was introduced to prominent curators and critics such as Miguel Arroyo, Lourdes Blanco, Roberto Guevara and Marta Traba who became great supporters of her work.

Where Have All The Flowers Gone? Longtime Pasing! 2018-2019. Painted wood and stuffed fabric. 26 3/8 x 21 5/8 x 15 5/8 in.(67 x 55 x 40 cm)

Over the course of her more than 50 year career, Valerie Brathwaite’s practice has drawn inspiration mainly from nature. First and foremost a sculptor, she creates forms of organic abstraction using simple sculptural volumes and sinuous lines resembling the flora, fauna and landscape of the Caribbean and South America. Written on the occasion of Brathwaite’s first museum solo show, titled Sculptures by Valerie Brathwaite, at the Museum of Fine Arts in Caracas in 1975, art critic Juan Calzadilla describes in the catalogue’s essay some of the characteristics of classical works of sculpture and works by Brathwaite.

Untitled (Sebucán Series) 2010. Painted wood and stuffed fabric 21 5/8 x 22 3/4 x 17 1/4 in. (55 x 58 x 44 cm) Courtesy Henrique Faria New York

Brathwaite had a profound academic training in sculpture working with artists such as Hubert Dalwood in London and Ossip Zadkin in Paris during a time when sculpture was evolving from modern to contemporary. Fajardo-Hill writes, “Her choice of form and motifs, as well as materials, surpasses the boundaries of tradition. They range from established to experimental, including concrete, plaster, clay, aluminum, bronze, silver, soft sculptures of stuffed fabric, and more recently MDF, demonstrating both freedom and resourcefulness in materiality and making. Brathwaite’s use of colors, often bright and found in nature, are fundamental in embracing the form and are often applied in layers to become an integral element of the sculpture. Her deployment of color is a surprising and unconventional feature of her work, as modelled sculpture is hardly ever polychrome; making her stand out from her teachers and peers since the 1960s. One of the features that makes Brathwaite’s work so exceptional is that it is not possible to identify clear influences in her work, either early on in her career or as a mature artist. Nevertheless, it is fruitful to recognize important relations and closeness with key international and Venezuelan artists without prescribing direct influences. For example, the organic nature of Brathwaite’s volumes dialogues with the sculpture by Barbara Hepworth, Jean Arp, and Hubert Dalwood; the sensuality of her voluptuous forms converses with the work by Louise Bourgeois, Niki de Saint Phalle, Ana Mendieta’s late work, and Margot Römer; and the grounded horizontality of much of her work speaks with artists such as Henry Moore.”

Untitled (Sebucán Series) 2010. Fabric and threads stuffed with various materials 75 x 17 x 11 in. (190 x 44 x 29 cm) Courtesy Henrique Faria New York

Valerie Brathwaite (Trinidad and Tobago, 1940) studied at Hornsey College of Art and The Royal College of Art in London and at The Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. First and foremost a sculptor, she also works in printmaking, painting and drawing. She creates forms of organic abstraction using simple sculptural volumes and sinuous lines, resembling the flora and fauna of the Caribbean. In 1969 she moved to Venezuela, and since has shown her work at Periférico Caracas, Caracas (2008); Art Society of Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain (2010); Galería G7, Cento de Arte los Galpones, Caracas (2011); CAF Development Bank of Latin America, Caracas (2012); Oficina#1, Centro Los Galpones, Caracas (2014). Her work is in the collections of The Museum of Contemporary Art, The Museum of Fine Arts, The National Art Gallery, The Alejandro Otero Museum, all in Caracas and The Art Museum of the Americas in Washington, D.C.