Veiko Valencia at Satellite Contemporary I Photo: PtD
Extended storytelling that comments on contemporary art appropriation risks being a retread of ideas presented as discovered enlightenment. Veiko Valencia avoids that with the skills of a boxer dodging and weaving an opponent while landing hooks to the head. That’s why “Process of Conflict,” a set of small paintings of boxers, are not out of place at “Copy of a Copy” at Satellite Contemporary. It opens the solo show with delicate brush strokes shifting pastels into image of a harsh sport to talk about adapting to a conflicted culture.
Then Valencia his first punch. From there the show is reliant on copy as the new art language as conflicted culture and begins with "Project Michael." Valencia digs into how the art of coping can raise a found object to be read as having intellectual, conceptual, and financial cache. The process of this transformation is more striking when the original object is considered "useless," says the artist.
“Project Michael” one of the works in "Copy of the Copy" at Satellite Contemporary by Veiko Valencia.
This piece began when Valencia recovered a painting of a skull, a found object, in his studio’s trash at his university in Boise, Idaho, where he’s now an MFA student. The original artist’s name was Michael and dropped out, said other students, and discarded a small work. “Project Michael” is about making a copy of a copy, says Valencia. “At the end we can see that the process of the copy is not only a deterioration process but also an additive process.”
He painted a copy of the original, then used the copy to use as source material for the next one, and so on. In the original, there is a small spot of white space from unpainted canvas. As Valencia progressed, he painted white to reproduce the unpainted space. Now the set are literary repackaged and lined up on the wall for retail presentation on walls designed for reflective contemplation.
“The more copies are made the less important the first source becomes.” says Valencia. “And the viewer cannot distinguish which painting was from the trash.”
Above: Krystal Ramirez “I Want to See More Brown Bodies” from 2017 will be reassembled at UNLV’s Barrick Museum of Art in Spring 2018.