South Australian born artist with a formal background in pottery and ceramics, Valamanesh won the 1996 Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship. Married to artistic collaborator, Hossein Valamanesh; together they create evocative installations on memory and migration.
Potter, was born in Port Pirie, South Australia. She graduated from the SA School of Art and was awarded her MA (Visual Arts) from the University of South Australia in 1993. In 1996 she won an Anne & Gordon Samstag International Visual Arts Scholarship, spent on a Postgraduate Program at the Glasgow School of Art, Scotland, UK. In 1997 she was awarded a Diploma in Design (Ceramics), South Australian School of Art, Adelaide. Angela is married to Hossein Valamenesh , with whom she has collaborated on several works.
“Angela Valamanesh has an established background as a ceramicist. Birds Have Fled is probably her first major showing as artist rather than craftsperson. Given this background the nature of her success was something of a surprise. The work consists of three or four focal points in an installation that has these spare elements totally dominate a gallery space that regularly defeats even group shows and which, while it permits success, could never be said to aid it.
“The gallery is lit to a softened gloom by the light of the spot-lit elements. These make a more or less cross-bow axis division of the space. To the right is a slightly ajar door, in the middle a large bluely glowing screen wall, a black light-box silhouetted in front of it throws the blue neon light. To the left are a pile of rubble casts and a few feet further to the left a pair of feet, soles outward, just out from the wall’s surface. The lightbox, when one moves to it, carries a Colette text, some lines describing a dream, in which the subject approaches a door that is opened by her identical, younger self. Hence the door some many metres away (right), coolly teasing or foreboding. And the pile in the corner at left turn out to be casts of feet – just the upper forefoot & shin: the part of our own feet we see & know. Once-possible selves, paths not taken. The two soles adjacent indicate a real subject (modelled in beeswax they are finely detailed, with signs of wear, age etcetera), but the surface we cannot so intimately know. We get to know it well in this instance: they’re head height &, in beeswax, intricately delicate. Also a little morgue-like. The gallery’s vast distances are effectively suborned to the interests of the installation, making each element 'far-away’ from the perspective of any other, diminished in scale – yet the lighting has these distances seem psychic, dream-like, not literal.
“The constellation of ideas the work seems to represent are not all that striking, have maybe the feel of rather nineteenth century symbolist clich?. But their expression here is impressively firm. While the themes are not new: Birds Have Fled is impressive in its achieved authority and resonance.”