David and Goliath, 2021

Oil on canvas, 36" x 24"

Young Sick Bacchus, 2021

Oil on canvas, 36" x 24"

Kieran Valde

Kieran Valde is a visual artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba. In 2018, he presented an exhibition of paintings and drawings at The Edge Gallery. In 2019, Valde curated a multimedia group exhibition at The Edge Gallery, and in the fall he presented an exhibition with Elise Dawson at Forth Projects. Valde has participated in several group exhibitions and fundraisers in Winnipeg at AceArtInc and PLATFORM galleries. In recent years he has taught painting workshops to students and adults. He currently sells print editions through “ArtistSourced” based in NYC. Valde’s work can be found in private collections across North America and Europe.

“I am obsessed with creating images that are new, that are obviously made in the 21st century, yet I find myself most captivated by some of the oldest images. I have a profound attraction to art history, the images which have stood the test of time and have been cemented as concrete examples of art being achieved in the highest sense of mastery. The academic approach to painting interests me. A skill that can be honed your entire life, a tradition that has been carried for centuries. How can I expand on these traditions in the technological world, where representation is now carried by the advent of photography? I like to make paintings influenced by various works of classical painters such as Caravaggio, Gentileschi, Rubens, and Goya.
     “In this submission I have included two paintings which reference works by Caravaggio (David with the Head of Goliath [Vienna], c. 1607; Young Sick Bacchus, c. 1593). To make these paintings, I use a specific process that I have recently developed for studying and transforming some of my favourite classical works of art: First, I choose a painting that inspires me, either through its story, or through its impressive technical prowess. Part of why I do this is to learn from the paintings and get better. I then find a high resolution photograph of the painting of choice and open it in Photoshop or Procreate. I play around with the image, using digital tools to create distortion and to change the composition. I often use “selection” tools to break apart the image’s pixels into different layers. These pixels are a specific compositional element of the painting that had never existed before the image was photographed. Most people have only seen photos of classical art, they are actually looking at something with a totally different makeup than the actual painting. This is something I want to highlight with my work. Once I have the skeleton of a painting broken apart into different layers. I move, distort, and duplicate these layers until I have a new image, composed of all the same bits of the original photo, which is only a representation of the original painting. I then take this new digitally altered image and paint it in real life, using oil paint on stretched canvas. I paint using a traditional process of the Renaissance. First by sketching, then doing the monochromatic Grisaille layer underpainting, and then adding colour by glazing thin layers of paint. Once finished, I have a painting with traditional colour palettes and subject matter, but which has been digitally processed, changing the fabric of its pictorial DNA. This process rewards the viewer with an image of classical technique, viewed through a computer-lens, unique to the modern time.”