Jina Valentine


TESTIMONY 2015 found paper, iron gall ink (oxidized with hydrogen peroxide) (8 panels) 24 x 16 inches each Like Explication, Testimony was inspired by my inability to process news articles about the shooting deaths of young black men. Testimony consists of newspaper articles containing the victim’s mother’s testimony, hand-copied in iron gall ink, the text of which, through a process of accelerated oxidization, eats through the paper. For this project I researched caustic, paper-eating inks. I stumbled upon iron gall ink (the focus of many academic studies, as it has caused deterioration of important manuscripts). Iron gall ink is made by creating a tannic liquid from fermented, oak tree galls and adding ferrous sulfate and gum arabic. The excess of iron sulfate in many folk recipes for this ink makes them unstable. Through a process of iron oxidization and eventual cellulose deterioration, the inked areas of the paper loose tensile strength and disintegrate, leaving holes in paper. These resulting lattice-like excisions are similar to that of hand-cut paper. Following months of research, I’m accelerating the disintegration process (from hundreds of years to weeks).

Jina Valentine’s interdisciplinary practice is informed by the intuitive strategies of American folk artists and traditional craft techniques, and interweaves histories latent within found texts, objects, narratives, and spaces. She has exhibited at venues including The Drawing Center, The Studio Museum in Harlem, the CUE Foundation, the Elizabeth Foundation, the DiRosa Preserve, and Southern Exposure. She has participated in numerous residencies including the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, the Santa Fe Art Institute, Joan Mitchell Center in New Orleans, Banff Centre in Alberta, and the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris. She is a 2016 recipient of the North Carolina Arts Council Grant, a Creative Capital Emerging Genres Grant, and a UNC Institute for Arts and Humanities fellowship, and a 2017 Art Matters grantee. Jina received her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, her MFA from Stanford University, and is currently an Assistant Professor of Printmedia at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.