What struck me about Anabelle’s work, is the graphic abstract impact. It punches you in a good way, bold and expressive. I noticed the systematic black and white patterns and then an expressive pop of colour. It has a perspicuous feel to it. It’s the way she uses space, there is empty space although this space is a pattern, like wallpaper filling up an empty room, however her collage interacts with the pattern creating a three dimensional feel to it. Her artworks and even her street art and murals all have this similar thread, wether the black and white grid, or tiny little squares, or graphic primary colours. Some of it creating an illusion that makes you feel as if you are standing on the edge of the universe, others that appear to move, or pull you in. Your eye is drawn to the focal point which is the collage, or the hidden image that appears through the grid. Bright bold reds, strong beautiful women with shoulder pad strength reminiscent of the 80’s they stand out with a statement, I am independent. In one particular artwork the face is cut out and what appears as dart board for a face, or the swirling patterns like peacock feathers, or the girl lost in the cloud of dots.
The first thing I discover about Anabelle she is also a mathematician, she used to teach the subject, Algebra, trigonometry and geometry and she has a degree in Architecture, which she started in her late 20’s at the California State University, she studied in both the US, Denmark and the Netherlands. She chose Architecture over Fine Art, for practical reasons she tells me. Her artwork she explains, is influenced by architecture and she has always been interested in patterns and fields of repetition, negative form and black and white, yet wanted to be less abstract and wanted to introduce a human figure. She plays with layers and light, using plexiglass and large canvases. She doesn’t stop at painting, she recently created a mural in the Santa public gallery in Los Angeles, approximately 12 feet high and 5 feet wide, creating a stencil that she repeated over 200 times and then painting two figures of a woman, as if cut in half or actually disappearing into the shadows.
Del Valle was born in Mexico, Mother and daughter moved to Los Angeles when she was very young and where she grew up, it’s her hometown along with her other home back in Mexico with her extended family, a family of strong independent women, Anabelle tells me, she was raised by her single mother. She left home at 18 remains close to her mother, brother and sister. As a young woman she was actively working all sorts of jobs. Along with getting married at 19 and divorcing. An astute survivor, Anabelle explains that a lot of her work is about processing herself and her place in the world. Most of her work is about women and femininity and those expectations on us, she feels we have to be perfect. “A lot of our value is sold through advertising” she tells me and her work is processing these thoughts. She often uses stunning and strong looking women in her collage artworks, Anabelle likes the idea of chance, the randomness how things come into your life. She admires women who are very tenacious. How they raise their inner minds to make them open to the world, yet have to have a voice as women and still be open and kind and have empathy.
Her influences are artists like Joseph Albers the German born American artist and lecturer at Yale university one of the pioneers of the Bauhaus movement, his systematic artworks is what inspired her, the order of his work and what she enjoys when creating her own work with that infraction of colour. Meditating whilst painting what she describes as a Mandala. She has worked as a graphic designer creating packages and these influences are additionally recognisable in her art. She became interested in Exhibition design and works for an architectural lighting company and is comfortable working together with architects and interior designers. Del Valle’s first exhibition as an artist was in 2015 and her first International Art Fair this year in 2018.
Although Annabelle is at the earlier stages of her career as an artist, she is currently organising her next solo show here in the UK next year. She explains how much she enjoyed London, walking along the Thames and viewing the landmarks that tears filled her eyes. We talk about languages, she is naturally fluent in Spanish and English, she says something that makes me smile before we end our interview, English she explains is a very economical language its easy to explain things in short sentences, Spanish on the other hand she tells me takes forever, you have to use so many words to explain the same thing that is actually quite simple. In a nutshell defining the differences in cultures and the luxury of experiencing both. This is reflected in both her and her work.
Interview: Antoinette Haselhorst