Emily Valentine’s hybrid beasts are unnerving and strangely familiar.
At once beautiful and discombobulating, Valentine poses riddles and serious questions, building visual dilemma and acute paradox.
Her works reference ancient myths, where animals traversed species, reached across time and were the embodiment of great threat and immortal legend. Valentine also actively debates the conflicts of technology today, species threat and environmental degradation.
Each of the wondrous statuettes has been adorned with feathers and transformed into something that is between species. Memory, suggestion and fact are in this way subverted and deliberately mixed up. What is it? What are we looking at? The artistic objective is to disconcert and in that process forge new awareness, demand questions and elicit explicit responses.
And yet nothing is as it at first seems. These are works with significant emotive presence too and Valentine uses gaze, feeling and consciousness to address the viewer directly. They are beguiling, beautiful and alarming, all at once.
The unforgettable works in Queens Down demonstrate Valentine’s transformative ability to imbue her animals with personality and character, while clothing them with improbability and the layered dynamic of myth. In that process, she suspends disbelief, is enormously inventive and poses very important questions of us all.