BAHM: 2.8.17 Valerie Piraino
Valerie Piraino is a New York based artist working in sculpture, installation and drawing. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and has exhibited internationally. Her work addresses themes of displacement, familial memory, transnationality (she grew up between Sub-Saharan Africa and the U.S.), archival practice and the Rwandan Genocide. Her work is included in the exhibition Africans In America, on display until December 17, 2017 at Goodman Gallery, Johannesburg. A Year Around the Sun is her first book, published in 2016 by Miniature Garden.
Piraino’s sculptures have a striped down palette of a deep matte or glossy black, a rich yellow gold, flaky metallic gold and the earthy tones of twine, sawdust and resin. A reoccurring symbol in her work is the fruit and flora of tropic regions, the Papaya, Marula, Coconut and Banana Flower, bound in macramé hangings and suspended out, away from the wall or placed precariously, oozing from a bite mark. Her series function as psychological typologies. The metaphor is palpable and titles like, Ravished, Famished and Juicy (Half Papaya) (2014), point to the inherent violence inflicted upon these symbols of exotic fertility and plentitude. The hanging of these sculptures is also important in discerning a quality of the domestic, of gathering and harvesting, and perhaps of unfamiliar, seemingly ritualistic process. One series, Object Trouvé (2016), captures all of these qualities. “Object Trouvé translates to ‘found object’ and meditates on the idea of discovery in foreign places. Object Trouvé reflects on how we internalize, consume and are transformed by experiences in foreign places.”
Contemporary And Article: In Context: Africans in America