I am a multidisciplinary artist who, depending on the concept I'm presenting, works either as a metalsmith or a painter. My art is about transformation and the energy within, its effect on us and the power we have to affect it. I am interested in positive transformation whether physical, psychological, or philosophical. I am intrigued by the energy that it holds, requires, and releases.
Working in metal I can show the physical interpretation of movement and change. I can forge the steel and silver to appear as though it is flowing like water or growing vines, or to be soft and delicate like fabric. Changing the perception of metal from rigid to fluid. In doing so, it is getting people to change their thoughts of what they are seeing and experiencing around them.
Painting allows me to escape the physical and explore the emotions and feelings of transformation. My paintings are abstract impressionism in an atmospheric, dreamy style rich in color and often with high contrast between darks and lights. Purposely meant to stir emotions and feelings instead of being anchored with a visually recognizable object.
In my search for contentment and soul’s peace, I am walking a path of creative exploration observing physical transformations in the natural world, along with the emotions and feelings that those changes bring to the surface. The pieces I create speak to hope, change and becoming better, weathering the storms and learning to swim within the chaos. With my art I offer an accessible vehicle for others to reflect on, to contemplate the beauty in transformation and change. I am inviting the richness of Possibility to their lives, that they may start dialogues to effect positive changes in their communities.
Valerie Ostenak, a painter and a sculptor, was one of the few women to take up blacksmithing in 1982. Forged steel became the focus of her signature flowing sculptures and art jewelry. Her intuitive atmospheric paintings feature metal leaf, adding strength to the ethereal emotions being conveyed with paint. Published in art jewelry and blacksmithing books, interviewed by National Geographic, Ostenak has taught metalsmithing workshops at universities and associations nationwide.
Select honors: Invited by Rolls-Royce to partner with them for their North American Owner's Meet in Lake Tahoe; Saul Bell Jewelry Design Award Finalist–Alternative Materials; Artistar Jewels Exhibition, Milan Fashion Week, Italy; Centurion Luxury Jewelry Show–Emerging Designer Award; Halstead Jewelry Design/Business Development Grant.
I am visually inspired by the rich colors of oceans, forests, and flowers . . . by the perfect curve in the shape of a wave, the winding tendrils of vines and how they connect to everything around them. I am intrigued by Space visually and metaphorically. Images from the Hubble telescope utilizing UV and IR filters show us billions of galaxies and richly colored nebulae. Though separated by incomprehensible distances, they are the light within the darkness.
Each of my painting series, Conversations with the Stillness, Embracing Shadow, Listening to Water, Missing Hawaii, Emergent, and Illumination, has a philosophical approach building on the concepts of the previous one. They are my path of transformation to a place of contentment and understanding, of soul’s peace. A path that I offer to others to take as well.
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*See the full painting in PAINTINGS: EMERGENT