This gallery includes several of my installations from the past 8 years. The pieces continue to evolve each time they're installed in a different space.
I've been working on the "Evening Bags for the Midwestern Woman" series for a good 10 years. It started out as an exploration, a response, really, to my vintage purse collection. I started collecting vintage purses after helping my parents clean out my grandmother's house and finding a spectacular 1940s boa constrictor purse, still in the original tissue and box. Never used. "What farm woman in her right mind would carry such a (beautiful) thing? And where?", I'm sure she thought at the time. (I always remembered her carrying these behemoth, vinyl shoulder bags that weighed more than she did.) Imagine my surprise to find this little secret.....forgotten and hidden in the attic.
So the series came about as a response to my fledgling collection - a study of materials, structure and form. I decided to use my palette of re-purposed materials and delve into this study and to question practicality of purses and this expression of fashion sense and, ultimately to celebrate it with a sense of humor.
This gallery focuses on my work that explores birds, their shapes, studies of their adaptations and their ephemeral qualities.
Clay artist Monica Wilson and I began collaborating in 2014. Mostly we began by visiting one another's studios, getting to know our work spaces, and approaches to making. 2015 show at Muskegon Community College, on the west side of Michigan was our 1st collaborative show, focusing on just our work. I think I can speak for both of us when I say that the process has been a lot of fun and has opened up ways of thinking and creating every time we've worked together. It's sort of like having a workout buddy, but in a creative, 'maker' way.
- Valerie Mann
“Glass artist Barbara Yerace (formerly of Michigan, now of Pennsylvania) and I have collaborated on glass constructions for about 11 years now. We have recently developed this body of work that, I think, comes closest to bridging that gap between 2D and 3D that we’ve been interested in. ”
— Valerie Mann
The Gun Show is a collection of 5 evening gowns that each represent a mass shooting in the U.S. There are, so far, 9 handbags that go with the collection. I've used repurposed materials to build the handbags and a laser cutter to cut and etch my drawings into the acrylic. This project is ongoing.
Press, reviews and video interview with Valerie Mann.
My blog features posts about my studio practice, teaching gigs and artist residencies.....musings and information about my experience as a contemporary American artist.