Consumption, obsessions and stereotype are at the center of Chris Valle’s works of art, the internationally renowned sculptor recently told Del Mar students.
Valle, who serves as professor of art at the University of Art at the University of Tampa, Florida, visited Del Mar March 25.
Painting and applying sometimes hundreds of layers of paint, plasters and other chemicals, Valle creates art that relays his messages.
“I explore issues of body image using appropriated images from old master paintings and advertisements from fashion companies such as Victoria Secret, Prada, Gucci, and Calvin Klein. As a whole, our culture is consumed by the way our bodies look, and it is the images on television that we measure ourselves with, and try to emulate,” Valle said.
The “Packaged” series features girls wrapped in plastic. The plastic has real barcodes of meat from the market. The naked bodies of the girls and their eyes being open create the illusion of death.
“In making these bodies into objects of ultimate beauty and desire, advertisers are glossing over the fact that, in this scenario, the body is merely an item. They are teaching us that the body is an object to be used, and our beauty and desirability are measured only by how closely we fit into their constructed reality,” Valle said.
The most recent collection, called the “Branded” series, features layers of painting. Women are painted without their heads and lips. Brands such as Chanel and Louis Vuitton are painted over the women. Purses and other materialistic items are added.
“I’m playing with religion and Louis Vuitton. The heads are missing. It symbolizes no thought there. There are no lips and it represents there is no voice. Louis Vuitton is the voice. The purse is empty, which represents that you can have all of the expensive purses but it won’t fulfill your life,” Valle said.
With over nine series, Valle has had exhibitions throughout the country and received numerous awards. His art collections can be found around the world. Valle had a piece of advice for art students at the lecture.
“Make a lot of work. It doesn’t happen overnight,” Valle said. “Just make a lot of work.”
For more of his artwork, visit his website chrisvalleart.com.