Jeffrey Vallance: Other Animals, a survey exhibition of animal paintings and drawings made over the past 40 years. This exhibition compliments his celebrated Blinky the Friendly Hen project which is celebrating its 40th Anniversary with a retrospective at Cal State Northridge Gallery and opens on February 2.
Deploying an array of techniques, the works presented in Other Animals direct attention to the wide range of animals Vallance has investigated. In many of the works, there is aggressive mark making which he makes by attacking the surface like “possessed cat,” scratching the surface with pure emotion. Other works are more carefully articulated, showing off his meticulous draftsmanship with a rendered image that is entirely his own.
In Vallance’s work, we are asked to question the social and personal significance that shape their meaning. Known for his critical and humorous eye, Vallance ‘s drawings, performances, sculptures and installations often reference his childhood in California, voyages to the Polynesian Islands, Iceland, residences in Texas, Las Vegas, the Arctic, and travels to the Vatican. In his legendary Blinky the Friendly Hen project from 1978, he held a funeral service for a frozen supermarket hen at Los Angeles Pet Memorial Park. The artist’s examination of these experiences combines a pseudo-anthropological approach with an art historically informed practice, and addresses themes of faith, myth, ritual and popular culture, along with the geopolitical landscapes of the past and present.