Viewing 35 years of Robin Valle's work is a romp through the history of late 20 th Century photographic processes evolving into seminal exploration of digital media. As a student at Southern Methodist University in the early 1970s, she was already making hand colored photographs with humorous collaged inserts. From her earliest classical sepia toned images of architecture Valle leaped rapidly to quirky Polaroids of parrots and fruit, immaculately matted, intentionally askew. From this springboard she dived into the world of Cibachrome, creating small-scale pieces with painterly surfaces, scratched and drawn upon, then sometimes perforated with heightened sense of the presence of the artist's hand.
Simultaneously Valle produced a series of large-scale Cibachrome photograms, Fairfax Ladies , in which she placed diaphanous garments directly on photo-sensitive paper and embellished them with objects, paper bits and flowers. As time passed the photograms became progressively more layered as Valle began to paint and scratch the surfaces, eventually covering the photographic image completely.
In the 1990s Valle's work took a strongly humanistic turn. Working with early generation grainy digital technology she produced a human biology series dealing with subjects such as body enhancement and reproductive rights. In 1992 she produced Crime Stats/Hollywood in which she chronicles and comments upon the world of crime and gang violence in her own neighborhood. In 1994 Valle created a black and white tile series with images and stories of her students who had immigrated to the U.S. titled, Why We Live Here .
Pressing onward, Valle moved from this early digital media to her most mature work, delicate digital collage, that often includes 3-Dimensional imaging combined with digital collage. This work often incorporated the cataloguing of birds or features an odd dinosaur or zebra wandering in a field of rich textile patterning. In 2008 Valle produced a lilting piece of kaleidoscopic animation, on view in this exhibition.
Robin Valle is remembered fondly by her family, friends, colleagues and students for her whimsical humor and inventive spirit. She will be greatly missed.
Curator El Camino College Art Gallery