Valerie Sparks is a Melbourne based artist who creates large scale printed works and immersive installation environments.
She is interested in the history and aesthetics of immersive environments, including frescos, glasshouses, stereoscopic photographs, French scenic wallpapers from the 1800s and contemporary 3D light based installations.
In 2015 Valerie completed a Masters of Fine Art at Monash University. She also has a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Anthropology and Pacific Studies, Honours in Anthropology, and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Drawing. Exploring historical collections and archives is a core element in Valerie’s practice.
She has undertaken number of research projects in a variety of locations including; the Vienna and La Rochelle Natural History Museums, the Musueè du Papier Peint in Rixheim, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Whitworth Gallery of Art, the Royal Institute of British Architects. The strong historical focus in her practice is reflected in her work, as she references and reinterprets historical imagery, archives and artefacts.
Valerie has exhibited extensively with a consistent practice and process of investigation. She has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Australia Council London Residency, the French Embassy Cite Des Arts Studio in Paris, the City of Port Phillip Rupert Bunny Award, Australia Council New Work funding, and Arts Victoria International Program funding.
Valerie is the winner of the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize for 2016, and has been a finalist in the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, and the Fremantle Print Award, Tidal, and the Hutchins Art Prize. Her work is in a number of collections including the National Gallery of Australia, The National Gallery of Victoria and Art Bank.
In 2016 Valerie completed a commission for the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery exhibition ‘Tempest’ and has commenced working on a 3D scanning project, focusing on the buildings and grounds of the Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens. She recently returned from a residency at the Perceptual Robotics Laboratory in Pisa, Italy, where she worked with her Heide and Botanic Gardens point cloud works in their 3D Projection CAVE.
SOLO EXHIBITIONS – Select
2018 Allusion and Illusion: the fantastical world of Valerie Sparks, Monash Gallery of Art.
2015 Le Vol, Masters Presentation, Monash Art School
2014 Le Vol, Turner Galleries
2012 Unnatural Migrations #1, Lowrise Projects
2011 Understory, Sutton Gallery Project Space; Little Bird, Big History, Gallerysmith
2010 this weather, Centre for Contemporary Photography
2008 Luminist, Alliance Franciase Melbourne; El Dorado Springs, Turner Galleries, Perth
2007 El Dorado Springs, Flinders Lane Gallery
2006 Linden Project Room, Melbourne Art Fair
2005 The Organisation of the View, 3015 Paris France
2004 With a View To Paradise, Linden St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Art
GROUP EXHIBITIONS – Select
2019 Banyule Works on Paper Prize, Hatch Contemporary Artspace, Hadley’s Art Prize, Hadley Orient Hobart, St Kevin’s Art Prize, St Kevins College, Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, Ravenswood School, Burnie Print Prize, Burnie Arts and Function Centre
2018 St Kevin’s Art Prize, St Kevin’s College, The Art of Collecting, CCP Fundraiser, Tidal, Devonport Regional Gallery
2017 Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre Perth:Speaking of History, Bett Gallery Hobart; Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, Ravenswood; Burnie Print Prize, Burnie Arts and Function Centre
2016 Tempest, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art – Winner, CCP 30 Years Fundraising Exhibition, CCP, Birds – Flight paths in Australian Art, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery
2015 Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art, Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre, Arcadia, City of Glen Eira; Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast Art Gallery.
2014 Outland, Melbourne Art Fair, Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast Art Gallery, Semblance, this is no fantasy, Outland, this is no fantasy – Volta10 Basel
2013 10 Years – 30 Residencies, Turner Galleries, Perth,
2012 Monash University Maribor 2012 European Cultural Capital Project, Venice Biennale; Bowness Photography Award, Monash Gallery of Art; Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre
2011 Private Paradise, Withworth Gallery of Art, Manchester; Hutchins Art Prize, Hobart
2010 Austral-Asia – Contemporary photomedia of the last ten years, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Bowness Photography Award, Monash Gallery of Art; Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre; Tidal, Devonport Regional Art Gallery, Visions, Glen Eira City Council Gallery; Time Travel, Tweed River Art Gallery;
2009 Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre; Hutchins Works on Paper; Long Gallery Hobart, 20Plus, Flinders Lane Gallery; Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast Art Gallery; The View from here IV, Flinders Lane Gallery;
2008 Treasures, Flinders Lane Gallery; Here and Now, FLG; The Perfumed Garden, Flinders Lane Gallery
2007 Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre; Valerie Sparks and Polixeni Papapetrou, Roger Williams Gallery Auckland, New Zealand; The View from Here II, Flinders Lane Gallery; Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast Art Gallery
2006 Proof, NGV Ian Potter; Tidal, Devenport Art Award; Treasures, Flinders Lane Gallery; The Alice Prize; Araluen Art Centre, Inhabitation, Australian Galleries; Linden Post Card Show, Linden Contemporary Art Gallery
PRIZES AND AWARDS
2018 Bother McCarthy Memorial Prize for Best Work on Paper, St Kevin’s Art Prize
2017 2nd prize, Fremantle Print Award, Career Development grant from the Australia Council, Highly Commended – Burnie Print Prize Burnie Arts and Function Centre
2016 Winner – Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art
2015 Honorary Mention, Bowness Photography Prize, New Work Grant Australia Council, Copyright Foundation Career Fund
2012 Australian Postgraduate Award, Monash University
2010 Arts Victoria Grant, International Program; People’s Choice, Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award
2009 People’s Choice, Fremantle Print Award
2008 Skills and Arts Development Grant, Australia Council, London Residency
2007 Rupert Bunny Fellowship, City of Port Phillip
2006 The Tammy Kingsley, People’s Choice Award, The Alice Prize; Linden Post Card Show, 1 of 6 works selected for reproduction as a Linden Post Card; Arts Victoria Grant, International Touring
2005 Australia Council and Ian Potter Foundation grants to conduct research in France and Spain for new work.
COLLECTIONS – SELECT
National Gallery of Australia
National Gallery of Victoria
Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery
Whitworth Gallery of Art Manchester
Monash Gallery of Art
Art Support, Creative Partnerships
Little Creatures Collection, City of Perth
Private Collections Australia, London, Paris, Hong Kong
Current: Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Monash Immersive Visualisation Platform at the New Horizons Research Centre
2015 Masters Fine Art – Monash University
2003 Bachelor of Fine Art, Drawing: Victorian College of the Arts
2001 Diploma of Visual Arts: RMIT
1996 Honours: Anthropology / Sociology: La Trobe University
1994 Bachelor of Arts, Double Major, Pacific Studies and Anthropology: La Trobe University