“Being part of the earth, its secrets are part of our fiber, our purpose, our memory, and our spirit.” — Vallorie Henderson
Because they are created by human hand, we are tempted to think that textiles are less connected to nature than some other mediums. Yet the work of Vallorie Henderson captures the tones and textures of the natural world with certainty. Her Appalachian heritage has always imbued her artist’s sensibility with a feeling for the land, but isn’t there something inherent in the fibers of the material, which are born of the fluid, organic quality of biology, that carries the earth with it through any process?
“My work will always have its origins in nature, if not by the inherent qualities within wool that allow it to felt, then perhaps by the preference for a particular line or form found only in the natural world. I enjoy creating landscapes with an abstract expressionist approach, hoping to represent the essence of the chosen vista through transparent layers of silk and wool, allowing a visual blending of complex colors when the viewer’s eyes see multiple hues through other hues.”
“With my most recent body of work, Birds Eye View, I chose to focus on aerial views of the farmlands in southern Indiana, western Kentucky and some areas of southern and eastern Kentucky where I am from. At first glance, these works may appear to represent a fascination with geometric shapes, patterns and repetitive grids. Viewing the landscape from higher altitudes does not allow a full understanding of the ongoing process that give form to the land below or of how its appearance reflects human occupation and the day-to-day engagements involving people, land, material, and circumstances. Beyond its dramatic scenery, our landscape is remarkable for the cultural activities and ideas it represents.”
“My Cherokee ancestors did not think it possible to own land, believing instead that we are born from Mother Earth. As an artist, I accept that we are made of this earth and in some manner, have always known the earth and its environs. Being part of the earth, its secrets are part of our fiber, our purpose, our memory, and our spirit. We are this place and all of its stories and events. Making connections between our experiences, their location and time is to be part of a greater whole while living in the present.“
Vallorie Henderson’s Bird’s Eye View series is currently featured in the Louisville Visual Art exhibit, Tessile Ora, along with work by Denise Furnish and Elmer Luciell Allen. It will be on display at Louisville’s Metro Hall through May 26, 2017.
Hometown: Somerset, Kentucky
Education: BA in Art, Berea College, Berea, KY; MFA in Fibers, Miami University, Oxford, OH
Written by Keith Waits. Entire contents copyright © 2017 Louisville Visual Art. All rights reserved.