Valerie Giles’s drawings unfurl an intimate world of assured line and fluid gesture, merging scientific inquiry and the natural world with the cadence of creation, automatism and fantasy. It is in these invented microcosmic systems that she explores the intersection of the real and transcendental, the mechanical and organic, the present and past.
There are two distinctive subjects in Giles’s work: abstraction, and mimesis. In her non-representational drawings, spontaneous skeins of curvilinear marks slide, skip and turn across the paper, recalling Cy Twombly’s Roman Notes and Brice Marden’s Cold Mountain series. Broadly based on her love of all music -– especially jazz, Giles transcribes its improvisation and immediacy with rolling, beckoning lines. The more realist drawings however, abandon the Dionysian line of her abstract work, and instead engage in the extreme limits of rendered detail, meditating on the biological world. Exactingly controlled and precise, the nautilus forms convey a synthesized biomorphism transformed by imagination and virtuosity.
Working on a tinted surface, the artist’s lines and forms appear translucent, ephemeral. Sparsely highlighted with pods and bursts of color she draws the viewer into her orbit, oscillating between bundled abstraction and allusion.