Jeffrey Vallance: Now more than ever.


November 5 – December 31, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, November 5, 6-8pm 
Artist Talk & Performance: Saturday, November 19, 4pm 

(Los Angeles) Edward Cella Art & Architecture is proud to present, Jeffrey Vallance: Now More Than Ever, an immersive experience into the mind of this influential Los Angeles artist featuring mixed-media drawings, sculpture, and performance. A catalogue will accompany the exhibition, with an essay by Doug Harvey. 

In this distinctive exhibition, Vallance returns to his first love, and the first medium of many artists: drawing.  Beginning first as an intuitive gesture, and then built layer-by-layer with collage and paint, Vallance performs their making; attacking each work like a “possessed cat,” scratching and clawing at each surface with manic gestures and pure emotion. The dense mixed media works encompass iconography visible throughout Vallance’s nearly 40-year career such as the wild dog, the crow, the rooster, and the eye. As stated by art critic Doug Harvey, “the bulk of the imagery is rendered in Vallance’s signature folky cartoon pictography, but extends to meticulous realism in several instances, while emerging almost uniformly from a miasma of gestural calligraphic mark”.

Deploying an array of techniques, the works presented in Jeffrey Vallance: Now More Than Ever, direct attention to the social and personal significance of objects, and the contexts that shape their meaning. In one work, a chaotic field of marks frame the bleeding severed head of a chicken, a “Ralph’s” grocery store sticker visible on its comb, surrounded by three smaller collaged iterations of the same chicken, a small city skyline, and a snake. In another, an octopus, eyes bulging, swims in a sea of grocery, brand, and store logos, intermixed with price tags, stamps, miniatures of past artworks portraying artist Mike Kelley (1954-2012), next to a collaged in DUI mugshot photo of “Painter of Light” artist Thomas Kinkade (1958-2012) in a floral shirt. Throughout the works, unexpected images of the commercial, the personal, and the political collide with Vallance’s sincere exploration of idiosyncratic iconography.

Jeffrey Vallance was born in 1955 in Redondo Beach, California and lives and works in Canoga Park CA. He received his MFA from Otis College. Vallance has exhibited at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA; The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; and Centre d’édition contemporaine, Genève. His works are held in such public collections as the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Moderna Museet, Sweden; Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; The Vatican Museum, The Vatican, Rome; and The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania.

Vallance’s work blurs the lines between object making, installation, performance, painting, writing and curating. Critics have described his work as an indefinable cross-pollination of many disciplines. Often his intervention/infiltration projects are site-specific, including burying a frozen chicken at a pet cemetery; traveling to Polynesia to research the myth of Tiki; having audiences with the king of Tonga, the queen and president of Palau and the presidents of Iceland; creating a Richard Nixon Museum; traveling to the Vatican to study Christian relics; and installing an exhibit aboard a tugboat and at a Christian Dinosaur museum in Sweden. In Las Vegas Vallance curated shows in the fabulous Vegas Strip museums, such as the Liberace, Cranberry, Magic and Clown Museum. In Lapland, Vallance constructed a shamanic “magic drum.” In Orange County, Mr. Vallance curated the only art-world exhibition of the Painter of Light™ entitled “Thomas Kinkade: Heaven on Earth.” In 1983, he was host of MTV’s The Cutting Edge and appeared on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman. In 2004, Vallance received the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation award. In addition to exhibiting his artwork, Mr. Vallance has written for such publications and journals as Art issues, Artforum, L.A. Weekly, Juxtapoz, Frieze and Fortean Times. He has published over 10 books including: Blinky the Friendly Hen, The World of Jeffrey Vallance: Collected Writings 1978-1994, Christian Dinosaur, Art on the Rocks, Preserving America’s Cultural Heritage, Thomas Kinkade: Heaven on Earth, My Life with Dick, Relics and Reliquaries, and The Vallance Bible.

The exhibition is supported in part by the California Community Foundation.


Hi Jeffrey,

I had a good conversation with Edward this morning about the upcoming show and how we see it connecting to your past works and where the most potential is for the upcoming project here. I guess a light bulb went off in our heads like that new drawing you made and it kind of gave us fuel to talk about ideas and imagery relationships.

We were talking about the power structures and themes in your past bodies of work like Nixon, cultural ties, the shroud, oil fields, etc. . . . and how this new project connects with that. Edward said something that really stuck with me that I really believe in, in that these new drawings are like "explosions, defiling these power structures" that have been constant themes in your work for decades. I think the question is, how do you continue to explore this and push the openness of that conversation?

We then went on to talking about current power structures, such as media, hollywood, big oil, military, and how the Nixon heads and your defilement of them through these expressive gestures can be really impactful. I guess maybe we are starting to uncover what has been your idea all along or at least check in to see what you think about our thoughts.

I do like this idea of the drawings keeping an open relationship to the sculptures for people to be able to draw as many relationships as they decide they want.

Thank you so much for all of this.