Hannah Valentine
Sensible instability
26 November – 18 December 2021

“The handyman’s hand was more than just an explorer and discoverer of things in the objective world; it was a divider, a joiner, an enumerator, dissector, and an assembler.  The handyman’s hand could be loving, aggressive, or playful.  Eventually, it found in the intimate touch of grooming the secret to the power of healing.  It may also have been the instigator of human language.

There is growing evidence that H. sapiens acquired in its new hand not simply the mechanical capacity for redefined manipulative and tool-using skills but, as time passed and events unfolded, an impetus to the redesign, or reallocation, of the brain’s circuitry.”

Frank R. Wilson, The Hand: How Its Use Shapes the Brain, Language, and Human Culture, Vintage, 1999. p.59

When we make things, we gain far more knowledge than we could ever say. We learn things through touch and through playing; and especially learn things through working with a material to convey our ideas. When I look at Valentine’s work I realise I am seeing her tacit knowledge and material understanding as much as the work itself. There is a generosity in her objects where she invites us to see her process, nothing is concealed from view. In fact her process is so visible, literally cast into the surface of objects and evident all over her work, you could think of her process as a material applied to the object, rather than something that has happened. Valentine’s presence is thick on the surface of her objects.

…For this exhibition, Valentine has purposefully taken a step sideways, ignoring what she has recently learned, and re-introducing ideas and materials that had previously been set aside. 

She is responding to the inherent nature of RM, giving herself space to experiment with ideas and follow a different fork in the road, just to see where she ends up. I like that this show isn’t about refining ideas, but instead setting up a situation to create them.

Excerpt from text by Finn McCahon-Jones
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