Deborah Valoma

copper wire, woven, patinated
21 x 18 x 15 inches

copper wire, woven, patinated, unwoven, wound
series of 5
6 to 12 inches diameter

paper, ink, wax, stitched
25 x 25 x 12 inches

DESIRE - detail

Deborah Valoma is an artist, writer, curator and teacher. She is an Associate Professor and Chair of the Textile Department at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco and Oakland, where she teaches studio classes, graduate courses and a comprehensive series on the history of textiles. In 1978, Valoma graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of California at Berkeley with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology. In 1995, she earned a Master of Fine Arts in the Textile Program with High Distinction from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland.

In her work, Deborah Valoma utilizes both hand processes and computer technology to expand the sculptural and conceptual boundaries of textiles. Her artwork has been published in journals including Fiberarts and American Craft Magazine and exhibited at venues such as the Textile Museum, Washington DC; Brown/Grotta Gallery, Wilton, CT; Braunstein/Quay Gallery, San Francisco; and Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Her work is in private and public collections, including the permanent collection of M. H. de Young Memorial Museum.

Deborah Valoma lectures, writes and curates. Her field of specialization is the history of textiles and the cultural significance of contemporary textiles. Valoma frequently lectures on historical topics, including talks at the San Francisco Museum of Art and the Folk and Craft Art Museum in San Francisco. Valoma has written articles for News from Native California and Fiberarts Magazine and has curated several exhibitions, most recently The Past in Present Tense: The Baskets of Julia Parker, a major retrospective of the premier Native basket weaver in California. She is currently working towards the publication of a book of the same title. Valoma is also involved in numerous community based art projects that focus on the preservation of traditional visual and performance arts.

As a child I spent many hours playing at archaeological sites in the Middle East. The fascination for history that I developed draws me to ancient allusions and forms. Lately, in that pursuit, I have been weaving with fine copper wire. The technique is a simple woven structure---one which produces a dense, textured surface and a strong, supple cloth. The properties of woven metal---pliability and memory---allow me to gather and fold the two dimensional material into a three dimensional object.

In Veil Triptych I have shaped an image of cloth that is lethal---representation that diverges from the traditional connotation of cloth as protective, pliable, and benign. Alluding to ancient Greek mythology and the Old Testament, these pieces cite instances in which women used the covert power of cloth to resist the patriarchal order.

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