The American Fabric Arts Building is home to working artists from all around the world. That being said, there’s something special about hosting local artists, such as Stratford native Caroline Valites. Valites is a photographer and installation artist who creates complex, emotionally charged works that combine a sophisticated approach to imagery with the insightful use of space and sound.
We love how Caroline’s work simultaneously intellectualizes an experience while making it more accessible. Wave Propagation Between Two Absolutes, a recent installation, brings together the physics of sound with a tether of monofilament connecting two speakers and the tenacity of a toddler who would rather do anything than comply with her father’s request she sing her ABC’s.
“As a society we have designed technologies such as the Internet that attempt to bridge the distance between us metaphorically and physically,” Valites writes in an artist’s statement. “Ironically, the internet and its devices become both a conduit and a barrier.” Classically trained in analog and alternative photography methods, Valites uses a variety of camera types to bring her vision to life. Room sized camera obscuras transform the once-familiar petite pinhole camera into something completely new and revelatory in her skilled hands.
Valites work includes little known photographic processes, like salt prints. Using historic techniques – salt prints originated in the mid-nineteenth century – to capture a contemporary vision is in a way emblematic of Valites’ own development as an artist: she began her photography in the 90’s, just as the field was beginning to transition from film to digital. As technology continues to advance, we look forward to seeing how Valites and artists like her will incorporate it into their work, while continuing to beautifully make use of traditional technique.
Valites has shown her work extensively throughout Connecticut and New England, including a very successful solo show, Corporeal Threshholds at the Herter Gallery in Amherst, MA. She also teaches photography and design classes on the university level.
Valites participates in AmFab’s Open Studios and welcomes visitors to her studio by appointment. To schedule a tour with Caroline, email her at email@example.com