Recently I visited sculptor Nora Valdez at her studio at Humphreys Street Studios in Dorchester, Massachusetts, to get a preview of her upcoming exhibition “A Common Thread,” which takes place from March 1 through April 2 at Boston Sculptors Gallery. During our studio visit, Valdez carefully reached into a portfolio taking out vintage-looking garment pieces on which she had drawn with black ink. Her idea was that these drawings would soon become part of an installation for the show.
What Valdez had done was deconstruct white cotton shirts that she then pressed flat before drawing on the surfaces. I noticed there were depictions of the human heart, which she said “represented love and sometimes the missing of love” in her life. I also saw images of lush trees with deep roots, boats and other things exploring thoughts about life’s transitions. Valdez is an accomplished sculptor and skilled draftspersonand with this collection she engages history by using repur- posed clothing to enrich the meaning of the drawn information.
As we talked, Valdez stepped outside her studio to point out two matching, freshly whitewashed tall wooden supports that she planned to string with clothesline in the gallery to hang the drawings mentioned above. In total there are 26 drawings that she wants to exhibit this way (as an installation).
Next, Valdez brought out a completely different set of works on paper based on brown paper shopping bags as visual subject and explained that she would conceptually link them with an arrangement of carved paper bag forms made of stone that all together make an installation about accumulated hopes and dreams carried from one place to another across life’s journey.