Valerie Dalling is a well respected Derbyshire photographer and we are lucky that she is available to hold an exhibition here at Studio 61 during August, Valerie will also be looking after the gallery a few days during here show please see the dates below her interview:
Tell us about your current practice, what have you been doing the last 12 months?
Hi, well this last 12 months seems to have flown by, largely due to ongoing projects, which have taken me up into the Peak District on a fairly regular basis. The projects have enabled me to enjoy a complete sense of freedom in my approach to the landscape both visually and technically, enabling me to experiment and develop new skills as my work has been evolving.
I have also enjoyed exploring new landscapes through visits to London, Prague and Scotland. Combined with commissions for portraiture in the landscape, location work and not forgetting the opportunity to bring a touch of Feng Shui to the office environment, it’s been a pretty busy year one way or another, resulting in a healthier portfolio and a new website to boot.
Has your work taken any new direction since we last interviewed you?
I was asked recently what I do for work, and when I answered “I’m a photographer” the response came back “Oh you’re another frustrated artist then”. Ironic really, because as you know I’ve always had an interest in connections between painting and photography.
I constantly strive to create painterly images, thinking of my camera as the paintbrush, and in what little spare time I’ve had over this last year, I even started to learn how to paint in watercolours, in order to try and experience the artform first hand.
In answer to the question though, since my last interview, yes my work will have changed, but I think it’s inevitable for any artist who likes to see some kind of progression in their art, keeping it fresh and exciting, but my philosophy on any new direction I may have taken remains the same. I have never wanted to be pigeon holed into one particular way of working. I learn something new every day and apply it to my art, however I feel it’s appropriate at the time, and simply let my work grow organically. It’s the way I love to work, I love being in the landscape, it has so much to offer, so why would I wish to be anything but open-minded while I’m out there enjoying it?
What are the pieces about that you have selected for this show?
Following on from Question 2, I have selected a few abstracts for this show, where I have felt a sense of intimacy, as I’ve tried to get close to my subject. The pieces from my Flow Series are a small part of the bigger picture as I continue to enjoy looking deeper into the waters of the Peak District, conveying both movement and mood through colour, shape and texture, created by the light as it falls on the water, and with very little post processing involved.
You seem to have moved more to abstraction is that anything to do with your affinity to painters?
I think I’ve probably already covered this in an earlier question, but would add that I do have an affinity to art in general whether that be painters that have inspired me such as J.M.W. Turner, Mark Rothko and Edward Hopper, the sculptural work of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore to photographers such as Fay Godwin, Laura Gilpin and John Blakemore, as well performance art through dance, music and poetry. As with any artist’s list of inspiration, it’s endless of course, but my biggest influence will always be the landscape itself.
What are your plans for the coming year? Any exhibitions or plans?
I have my first solo exhibition coming up in September at Banks Mill Studios, which is the bigger picture I mentioned earlier. Journeys Through The Landscape is just that, all about my travels around the Peak District. This exhibition is intended to provide a brief introduction to a particularly personal project I’ve committed myself to work on indefinitely. Four different stages of the project will enable me to combine my abstracts with more representational work, which I find very exciting and completely liberating as an artist.
I have also very recently been approached by another well-respected Derbyshire Gallery who are interested in my work, which is a great compliment and most encouraging.
As regards the rest, a photography group I facilitate in Ockbrook will begin its eighth year in September, a lovely non-competitive group I founded in 2008. I saw this as a way of sharing my love of photography with others when I finished my studies, while at the same time providing members as well as myself of course, with opportunities for learning, which as far as I’m concerned never stops.
I’m also in the middle of a Summer Programme of Walks with the Camera details of which can be found on the walks page of my website www.valeriedalling.com and I’ve started working on a lovely collaboration focusing on the River Lathkill.
I suppose to summarise my year ahead is to continue enjoying and feeling passionate about my art, for which I have no doubts whatsoever, put a smile on my bank manager’s face, for which I have some doubts, and finally to continue helping others, which I find personally very rewarding, and be happy and healthy while doing it. Another busy year ahead…
Thank you Studio 61 for the opportunity of sharing a few of my thoughts with you.