In Valerie Wilcox’s “Constructs," her works present a reimagined, abstracted understanding of our constructed environment and how our brain works to piece together diverse elements. She uses common materials to create connections between our everyday lives and new ideas about how we construct our physical surroundings.
Wilcox incorporates the ideals of Wabi Sabi into her working process. This aesthetic is centered on the acceptance and beauty of transience and imperfection. It refers to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to both natural and man-made objects.
Wilcox is forming these hybrid constructions using salvaged and humble materials. She embraces the mistakes and gives them a new life, with bits and pieces that appear as if they were casually cobbled together, off-kilter and with an imperfect resolution. The visible evidence of the maker’s hand, the odd assembly and disjointed mechanics in the works reveal her process and addresses our ideals of perfection versus inherent human fallibility.
The found wood she uses is often sourced from houses that are being demolished or remodeled, preferring the old wood with remnants of paint on them and that show a particular usage, thus perhaps holding memories of the lives long past.
She likes pushing a surreal quality in her work. Ambiguous shapes hover between a two-dimensional plane and a three-dimensional structure, often nuanced by the effects of light and shadow, thus playing with the idea of space and perception, but not necessarily the reality of it. Wilcox also incorporates her early clothing and packaging design experience into her constructions. These assembled “objects” become her canvas and emphasize the materials with which they were made as much as the painted surfaces and textures.
Wilcox's Constructs at once become referential, self-reflexive and whimsical, managing to transcend their base materiality, as her source materials are elevated and imbued with newness of form and function. It has been said that her work feels like poetry; left open to possibilities for the viewer.