Hedonic Reversal

March 5 – April 4, 2015
Opening reception on First Thursday, March 5 from 6:00 – 8:00pm
Artist talk: Saturday, April 4 at 2:00pm

The monochromatic photographs of Hedonic Reversal recreate urban decay and ruins in the artist's studio. Divorced from the social conditions that typically underlie "beautiful ruins" photography, the images question how our aesthetic response is altered by the absence of poverty and suffering. Noting that historic ruins of passed civilizations have different symbolic meanings than those we encounter in contemporary urban environments, Valenzuela explains, "I am not seeking to symbolize loss and nostalgia for a better past; I’m seeking to understand if there is pleasure in the ruin itself." Created through a process of photographing and re-photographing, these works also capture the passage of time through multiple stages of production and destruction in the artist's studio. Through the accumulation of flaws, they become whole.

For Maria TV (2014; funded by 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts & Culture), Valenzuela brought Spanish-speaking female immigrants together with an acting coach for a day of filmed theater, reconstructing monologues from Telemundo soap operas interwoven with personal histories. The video emphasizes how rarely working-class women are featured, or featured realistically, in the media.