Skip to Main Content

LOCATION: Plinth Gallery - 3520 Brighton Blvd

CATEGORIES: Art Events | First Fridays


  • Fri, Feb 2, 2024 - Sat, Mar 30, 2024  

First Friday March 1st from 6-9pm

Shalene Valenzuela was born and raised in Santa Barbara California. She holds an Master of Fine Arts degree from California College of Arts and Crafts. She is currently the executive director of the Clay studio of Missoula in Missoula, Montana. She has been a resident Artist at The Archie Bray Foundation, Watershed Center for the Ceramic Arts, and the LH Project. She has taught at the University of Montana, Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, and UC Berkeley. Her work has been featured in group and solo exhibitions nationally and is in many private and public collections.

Her sculptures deal with contemporary issues in a thoughtful, humorous yet ironic tone. She reproduces everyday objects and the imagery is hand painted. Her narrative work references fairytales, urban myths, consumer culture, etiquette, and societal expectations, to mention a few. “Stylistically, my imagery is derived from somewhat dated sources that represent an idealized time in society and advertising. Beneath the shiny veneer of these relics hides a complex and sometimes contradictory truth of what things seem to appear as upon first glance.”

She defines her ceramic pieces as “essentially a form of trompe l’oeil.” She works with the notion that “things are not what they initially seem to be”. The object being referenced remains recognizable while the illustrations are imperative in creating the narratives that weave various dialogues and statements within and about the physical object. Exploring issues focusing on women is important for many reasons, most notably in examining my own personal history and how I evolved into who I am today. However, my investigations speak to a greater issue of how women are seen in society, historically and today. My explorations of self-perception and expectations address how assumptions of character based on societal biases leads to a precarious and unbalanced state of humankind.”

Jonathan Kaplan, Plinth Gallery curator notes that “Shalene’s ceramic work is intensely personal, humorous, perceptive, yet serious. They are acerbic and satirical commentaries on our current culture.”

Nearby Galleries + Studio Buildings

Nearby Places to Eat + Drink

Nearby Murals