Photography © Inge Dumoulin
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
TYRONE HEMHOLTZ GALLERY
“fine arts forever”
Tyrone Hemholtz is proud to be the first arts institution to sponsor an IORGO VALVA
Memorial Retrospective, NO HEAD, NO PAIN.
An intensely private, reclusive artist who refused to attend exhibitions, grant interviews and was so obsessive about not exposing his face in public that he daily wore facial masks decades before the Covid Pandemic. The board of directors at Tyrone Hemholtz offers its gratitude to the Iorgo Valva family for allowing the publication of the only known photograph of this multi-disciplined artistic genius.
The paintings of Iorgo Valva (1953-2021) reinforces the premise that everything transitory is merely a smile. Everything we see is a proposal, a possibility, an expedient. The real truth, to begin with, remains invisible beneath the surface. The colors that captivate us are not lighting, but light. The graphic universe consists of light and shadow. The diffused clarity of slightly overcast weather is richer in phenomena than a sunny day. It is difficult to capture and represent this, because the moment is so fleeting. Mr. Valva has infiltrated our soul with the formal fuse of THOUGH I’M SCAT I STILL LOVE LITTER BOXES, using organic materials embedded into canvass.
Simple motion strikes us as banal. Valva’s work eliminates the time element. Yesterday and tomorrow are simultaneous. His FRISBEE AS CHOCOLATE CHIP and UP THE SCHOZZIN NOZZIN overcomes the time element by a retrograde motion that would penetrate consciousness, reassuring us that a renaissance might still be thinkable. Early works indicate his demonical visions melt with the celestial. This dualism shall not be treated as such, but in its complementary oneness. This conviction is always present.
The demonic is already peeking through here and there and can’t be kept down. For truth asks that all elements be presented at once, as is exemplified by the artist’s ORGASM SEEPS FROM DAMAGED BOOT and damned near didactic with the completion of his last major painting, the encaustic NEW ENGLAND NEUTERS, as well as conveyed through the lesser sculptures commemorating his recent period of Qanon fanaticism.
IORGO VALVA was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1953. His first contact with the art world came at an early age. In 1954, at the height of the bohemian “BEAT” tradition, Mrs. Chloe Valva was changing the future painter’s diapers in the Women’s Room at Crotona Park when Allen Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock, both in drag, each asked the artist’s mother for a dime and admired the streak-stained diaper Iorgo had created.
After a period of twenty-two years during which time Iorgo did not create art because of his paralyzing fear that ferrets would seek him out and defecate on his paint brushes, Mr. Valva went into a frenzied period of work that lasted until his death at age sixty-eight, when he was bitten by a rabid woodchuck while collecting organic materials for an anti-environmental collage.
Not only was Mr. Valva a prolific painter and sculptor, he also published many articles and essays of art history and criticism, as well as an acclaimed autobiography, I’m Not Paranoid Because My Fears Are Real, and a novella, Stories I Stole From My Father.
This novella led to a thirty-year court battle with his sister, Katya, when she discovered that the book was pirated from the uncopyrighted Estonian fiction of their father. The case was still in litigation at the time of the artist’s death and was said to be a major reason for renewed interest in Iorgo among art critics, who cited the novella title as the ultimate statement in truth, thus earning Mr. Valva a new and deeper examination of his oeuvre.
Mark Blickley is a proud member of the Dramatist Guild and PEN American Center. His latest book is the text-based art collaboration with fine arts photographer Amy Bassin, Dream Streams.
Inge Dumoulin is a Belgian photographer and Valva family friend who is perhaps even more mysterious than the artist himself. Very little is known about her. Was she Iorgo’s mistress?