Valerie Carew has developed her career as an accomplished fine art portrait and plein air landscape painter. She has to her credit an extensive portfolio of freelance and privately commissioned work for patrons throughout Canada and The United States. High profile clients include celebrated actor Christopher Plummer and internationally renowned pianist Janina Fialkowska. Her paintings have exhibited nationally and in Europe.
Carew’s current works examine representations of nature in the context of historical and current urban disconnection from the wild. Her inquiry is informed by the history of children's book illustration (modernity to present), ecology, and the biological effects of human activity. This body of narrative work weaves ephemeral moments in childhood fantasy and roleplay, while telling an understory about resource consumption.
"Insulate/Isolate" considers the habitus of urban children as a figuration of distant or abstracted relationships with the wild. Items of clothing which simulate the natural world are also objects of production and commodity. When placed on the body, a simultaneous state of protective insulation and isolation of the senses occurs. These states are an allegory for current urban constructs of reclusion. Utilizing a vernacular language in childhood visual culture, this project seeks to promote critical discourse regarding the constructed classifcations of childhood within a contemporary capitalist context, and describes a disconnect whereby commodity objects and imagery fill a void and need for absent wild spaces; a surrogate comfort based on fabricated meaning.