Artist's Statement by Valerie Coffin Price
Valerie has been a long term and passionate advocate of the waterways of Britain and since 1998 she has been exploring canal, river and coastal landscapes around Wales and abroad. Working with issues to do with the environment, language and cultural identity her work has been looking at the act of journeying, where to journey is to explore and discover cultural traces embedded in the land. These traces include fragments of objects, memories, history and remnants of text and sound. It is these ‘unseen paths’ that connect us to nature, to the liminal, to the invisible world of currents, winds, ideas and language. As part of this her work involves an immersion in the landscape through walking, in this particular instance simultaneous research on Gower and along the Severn Estuary.
Collaboration and cross-arts working are essential elements of her art practice, experimenting with, and reflecting on, different ways of seeing which create a conversation between the environment, people and her response to a specific place.
The folding sketchbook has been where much of Valerie’s work has taken shape on recent projects. The twists and turns of the escape journey in The Rebecca Rioter, linking and separating places, changing and enduring through time, are mirrored in the interplay of art and text in the Rioter’s sketchbook, both being reflected in the structure of the folding book itself.
Her approach on this project involved a series of walks and investigations, approached through a process of being in conversation with the book and its writer, the journey and its sites, in effect layering place and imagination, language and image. This generated a series of experiments from drawing and photography to film using a GoPro and mobile phone as well as the folding sketchbooks.