Valerie Jenkins

For the past seven or eight years I have committed much of my time in the studio to working on large-scale drawings. This has led me to creating site-specific drawing installations and shifted my approach to making art, producing work that is more contemplative, repetitive and abstract.

I typically start a drawing working from observation, either natural phenomena, as in the “cloud” series, or seemingly mundane things (such as piles of shredded paper), as in the “shred” series. I work on each drawing for an extended period of time. The slow build-up of the work, encouraging an intricate and subtle reading of it by the viewer, is a type of engagement that I believe operates in contrast to our cultural infatuation with immediate gratification.

Regardless of how the work is initiated, that is, in my response to particular social contexts and through my direct observations, it is the abstract qualities of the imagery that I find most compelling. The ‘subject’ of the work is found somewhere in the process of making it. I am motivated by a process that necessitates the negotiation between impulse and restraint, between the objective calculation of systems and methodologies, and the subjectivity of intuition and memory.

My work is succeeding for me when it teeters on the edge of abstraction yet grounds vision in the familiar, and when the familiar is disrupted thereby creating a chance to heighten the viewers awareness of the act of perceiving.


Shreds of ContentmentShreds of Contentment