United States (b. 1955)
Monica Valentine’s primary practice takes the form of optically charged sculptures composed of foam shapes that are densely covered with beads and sequins. Valentine is blind and wears prosthetic eyes, having lost her sight in early childhood. Working with great dexterity, Valentine threads sequins and beads onto thin pins, then uses her hands to feel along the foam form in order to ﬁnd their placement. The process is rhythmic and calculated; Valentine’s exacting standards of bead size and color, foam shape and material, resulting in forms that are whole and perfect in their being. Visually rich and luminous, her sculptures are either monochromatic (red is her favorite color), or blooming with multiple hues across the visual plane as Valentine creates layers by juxtaposing the colors of sequins and beads. Color dominates and informs much of Valentine’s life, and her ability to feel the color of an object by its temperature (a form of synesthesia) is just one way that she uses color to orient and empower herself in her environment. Introduced by touch to a SAORI loom in 2019, Valentine weaves in monochromatic yarns until the piece outgrows the loom. Working exclusively in red, orange, green, or blue, her long textiles have a distinctive looped fringe on the left side that forms as she extends the shuttle to feel the yarn’s tension before starting the next row.