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‘Intense’ mosaic sculptures coming to Brentwood Arts Exchange


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Courtesy photo. A mosiac sculpture by Valerie Theberge.

Courtesy photo. A mosiac sculpture by Valerie Theberge.

Published on: Wednesday, August 28, 2013

By Wanda Jackson

Valerie Theberge’s mosaic sculptures are intense and tedious, but it is what she loves.

“My current work is a synthesis of influences that have developed into a very personal visual language,” Theberge said. “Microorganisms and their ability to shift, adapt and change form inspire me.”

Theberge will showcase her latest mosaic sculptures as the “Fall 2013 Front Window Featured Artist” at Brentwood Arts Exchange from Sept. 9 to Oct. 19. She will be the featured guest at a reception for the new exhibit from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 14.

Theberge’s latest sculptures are “dense in form and active detail, recognizing that under the mass of the material is a vibrancy that pulses through all matter.”

“I intuitively create images in my work that remind me of these cellular structures, and I work to echo their pulsating nature,” she said. “In their mutable, dynamic character they represent a microcosm of the human experience.”

Created from small glass pieces, “the mosaic sculptures embody both levity and solidity,” states Brentwood Art Exchange’s exhibit announcement.

Theberge said she creates “work that is on the surface cemented and immovable.”

“Although I am drawn to solidity and permanence, I aim to create a sense of fluidity and dynamism,” she said. “Recognizing that under the density of what is material is a vibrancy that pulses through all matter.”

“My work seeks to confer a sense of vitality not in the sense of capturing it but rather to embody it,” Theberge added.

To create a mosaic sculpture, Theberge initially creates a light, small-scale freehand drawing.

“I enlarge the drawings from 8 to 10 inches to 8 to 10 feet and use them as a blueprint for my work,” she said. “Using simple materials, such as glass or metal, I outline my drawing keeping with the momentum and force that I had created on the small scale.

“Once I have reproduced the thrust of movement, I then begin to fill in. During this process I am connected with an inner direction and deeply aware that every piece has a place. Thousands — if not tens of thousands — of small pieces join together each with an equally important role, like thousands of tiny cells effortlessly forming together to create substance.”

Theberge graduated from the San Francisco Art Institute, where she majored in painting and drawing. She moved to China to study the Chinese language and Chinese painting. She received a certificate in Chinese painting in 1992.

Her art career took her to Hong Kong, where she apprenticed with a British company and specialized in the art of mosaics. While in Hong Kong, she studied Asian culture and obtained her master’s degree from the University of Hong Kong in 1999. Theberge has worked on projects in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, India and the United States. She currently works in her studio located in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

Since opening in March 2010, the Brentwood Arts Exchange has presented 16 exhibitions featuring regionally and nationally prominent artists, as well as university and high school students, and has welcomed more than 13,000 visitors. The Brentwood Arts Exchange is located in the Gateway Arts Center at 3901 Rhode Island Avenue.

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