Press Release

New Paintings and Drawings,
Apr 3 - May 15, 1999

During April and May the George Adams Gallery will present a survey of paintings and drawings byJames Valerio. The exhibition features four large-scale figure paintings and ten still-life and figure drawings in graphite all made between 1974 and 1998. 

Over the past 25 years, James Valerio has articulated a way of looking at the world around him that is entirely his own. His paintings, always large enough to walk into, are realistic depictions of figures and still-life set-ups derived from photographic sources. Inevitably, however, the impact of Valerio's realism gives way to the realization that his true intent is to depict a psychologically charged scene by combining intricate compositions with often grotesque images.

For example, Frances(1974) and Tom's Choice (1991) both depict figures in intimate interior settings; in each case Valerio  emphasizes pock-marked flesh and clashing patterns and colors that are at odds with the figure's setting in order to establish a psychological tension. Dandelion Dreams (1995) andModels on the Studio Floor (1998), each depict a pair of figures with total realism although the vantage point is, inexplicably, from above. In fact, in spite of Valerio's intense attention to detail  -  note, for example, the tatoo and piercing on the female model in Two Models on Studio Floor - the painting is actually a study of the effects of light and color. In the case of the drawings, Valerio lavishes great attention on the most unexpected subjects, for example a whole, raw chicken placed on a pedestal or a bath towel rendered so meticulously that it almost becomes a landscape. 

Exhibition Checklist

Clockwise from the right:

1. Fowl, 1994 
graphite on paper
23 x 27 5/8 inches
JVd 17

2. D.D., 1996 
pencil on paper
29 x 23 inches
JVd 25

3. Two Models on Studio Floor, 1998 
oil on canvas
90 x 100 inches
JVp 17

4. Fear, 1995 
pencil on paper
25 x 20 inches
JVd 28

5. Dandelion Dream, 1995 
oil on canvas
92 x 110 inches
JVp 13

6.  Evasive, 1995 
pencil on paper
17 1/2  x 17 1/2  inches
JVd 27

7. Tom's Choice, 1991 
oil on canvas
72 x 84 inches
JVp 04

8. Self-Portrait, 1998 
graphite on paper
21 13/16 x  24 3/4 inches
JVd 13

9.  Frances, 1974 
oil on canvas
86 x 72 inches
JVp 15

10. Steve, 1990 
pencil on paper
29 x 23 inches
JVd 07

11. Broken Jar, 1994 
graphite on paper
23 x 26 1/2 inches
JVd 21