artNEWS: Valerie Hird – Dreaming of Another World, Nomadic Reflections

January 18, 2017

February 21 – March 24, 2017


Artist Talk: “How Did a White Girl Get Here: Living With the Nomads of the East,” Saturday, March 4, 11am-12pm.

McGowan Fine Art announces the opening of “Dreaming of Another World, Nomadic Reflections” featuring the art of Valerie Hird. The show will run from February 21 through March 24. The artist will be giving a talk on her travels called “How Did a White Girl Get Here: Living With the Nomads Of the East” on Saturday March, 4, 11-12. This is free and open to the public.

Ms. Hird’s refined watercolor style highlights her roots as an archaeological illustrator in the 1980’s- a career she found unsatisfying.  Traveling through the East and Central Asia she turned her pens and brushes to telling the stories of these nomadic people and their fascinating cultures. What she saw and felt became her new life’s work- exploring the cultural mythologies of both the East and the West. This body of work dating from 1990’s, portrays the people, landscape and their unique visual language. These are cultures that are rapidly disappearing in our increasingly globalized world.

Tribal Landscape

The Nomadic tribes of the East primarily communicate visually, including their rich history of textile production. The bright colors and abstracted designs of Eastern textiles are reflected in Valerie’s watercolors. In “Tribal Landscape” the peaks and ravines of the mountains read as loosely folded cloth. The shadows and dappled light are transformed into woven fabric melding textile and landscape into one. “Granada Cypress” takes the form of the iconic trees and gives them form through undulating patterns of cobalt blues and ferrous reds. The morphing of landscape to textile and back again reminds the viewer how intertwined our cultures are with the landscapes that surround them.

Ms. Hird also addresses the people of this landscape. In “Protecting from the Sun” several women hide in the shadows, but their richly colored garbed figures stand out against the pale landscape. The contrast is dramatic. “Carrot Dinner” portrays a carrot seller at market. The sheaf of bright orange carrots splays across the sellers patterned shirt and bright blue trousers. Faces are obscured or unimportant. The stance of the figures is evident of the conversation going on. A faceless child turns to look up at the adults in conversation. There is clearly an ease and familiarity between them.

Protecting Against the Sun
Carrot Dinner

Valerie Hird, in addition to the talk at the gallery on March 4 at 11 AM, will also be guest speaker through the Salon Series at the Capital Center for the Arts in Concord, NH on February 10 at 7:30 PM. “Tweets From Another World” will be a discussion of the colors and patterns of Central Asia and their part of the larger visual language that we use to navigate our contemporary world.

This exhibit will be on display at McGowan Fine Art, 10 Hills Avenue, Concord, NH. Hours are Tuesday to Friday, 10 to 6 PM; Saturday 10-2 or by appointment. Please call Julie Hamel at 603-225-2515 for more information or visit our website at