In: Female painters

Florence Vale | Selected Drawings & Verse, 1979
November 3, 2022

Florence Vale | Selected Drawings & Verse, 1979
Published by Aya Press, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 1979

My love created
something more real than you are
how disappointing

Florence Vale was an artist influenced equally by surrealism, expressionism and cubism, melding these sometimes disparate movements into unique works. “I paint what I dream,” Florence Vale (1909 – 2003) stated, and the late art historian Natalie Luckyj offered that “Her art was a world in which fantasy and reality are interwoven to create a private and secret environment.”

She published several books of her writing intermixed with her artwork: in this slim volume, the drawings are linear and simple, and often erotic. The text alternates between a light-hearted salaciousness and more stark, desolate meditations upon love.

Vale was a previously featured artist in AIH Studios’ ongoing series of Artists You Need To Know. That can be enjoyed here, where you can see more of her artwork.

A light went out
and I can’t turn it on
the dark is frightening
engulfing
temptation is rife
a momentary relief
leaving regrets
and the pain is there still
but deeper now
despair strains the heart
longing is agony
God’s love cannot compensate for yours

This is not an easy book to find, though you may be able to procure it online through spaces like this one. But – as I so often do – I would suggest your local library, or a local second hand book store, as they have been – and continue to be – treasure troves of fine art books. I discovered this book in the library at AIH Studios, but also have a copy of another of Vale’s publications of prose and pictures that I bought at an artist run centre’s ‘yard sale.’

I must also inject that there are too few collections of artists’ books and publications that are accessible to all, in gallery and museum spaces, and this is an unfortunate consequence of the prevalence of digital spheres, now….

~ Bart Gazzola

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