Creating is an imperative for Valerie McIntosh, who enjoys the stimulation involved in approaching a variety of themes and responding to them visually. She holds originality paramount, aiming to find different ways of expressing herself. Although themes or sources may be social or emotional, the act of creating a work is primarily an intellectual exercise for Valerie. She relishes ambiguity in her work, as she believes that the viewer brings their own interpretation.
Valerie’s practice is eclectic, exploring a wide range of media, both two and three dimensional, which enables her to select methods appropriate for her purpose. While some work is representational, she relishes the challenge of abstract work.
To demonstrate the diversity of her practice, Valerie’s 2016 exhibition at Gatakers Artspace, Catastrophe, was conceived with the aim of encouraging responsible cat ownership. It included photographs, oil paintings, drawings, cat dolls, folklore, even a storytelling session with children. The highlight of opening night was Valerie in costume as Catwoman!
Through her art works, Valerie aims to have people see things as they have not seen them before, and thus invite new perspectives. Another 2016 exhibition, Embellishments, drew viewers’ attention to architectural detail in Maryborough and included large scale drawings, small encaustic works, compositions from scraps of old linoleum and a variety of realia.
Valerie participated in two print exhibitions in 2018, Compact Prints in Townsville and The Overwintering Project, submitting a print for exhibition in Victoria and Tasmania, with other work to be exhibited in an exhibition of the same name at Gatakers Artspace. In both of these, she was able to indulge her passion for Australian wildlife, a frequent source of inspiration.
Her work for Common Ground, an exhibition featuring 21 artists at Hervey Bay Regional Gallery in 2019, is informed by her knowledge of interaction between China and Australian since the nineteenth century. These associations have been economically driven, with gold and land seen as sources of wealth and many interactions have been, and still are, fraught with suspicion.
Valerie is currently undertaking research and developing concepts associated with phobias, working towards an exhibition which will confront irrational fears. Following the conceptualization of her theme, she will select techniques and media best suited to involve her audience.