Arts + Entertainment / Faces + Places / Lifestyle

It’s a “Matter of the Heart”

The Arts Council of the Valley proudly presents mixed media work by Sam Hunter. The show opens Friday, November 6th from 5-7pm. There will be complimentary appetizers and beverages for the public to enjoy while viewing the challenging work of this candid artist. The variety of mediums and styles not only engages the audience but also reflects the array of issues discussed in these pieces.

“Matters of the Heart” is a series of drawings and garments that discuss the delicate and complex nature of the human health condition. In May 2008, Hunter had a heart attack that disrupted her life and consequently her art. This body of work is an exploration of her heart and her ongoing health concerns. Hunter explains, “These works are about trying to understand and assimilate the new identity that my health has insisted I create.” She chose to design fabric garments, intentionally making them appear wearable. This signifies her ownership of the emotions in response to the heart attack and the resulting quality of life.

The range of emotions Hunter experienced and still experiences can be seen in the diversity of materials used. The use of medium varies from paper and pen to fiber. The garments reference hospitable gowns that she then has “reinterpreted…in ways to illustrate specific facets of [her] health related emotions”. Each of her garments acts as a symbol of the questions she wants to ask or the questions that keep asking of her. The audience is invited to also join in and consider this inquisition.

Born in England, Sam Hunter split her formative years between Europe and the United States before settling in California in 1981. Her dream, from her earliest memories of re-drawing Sunday newspaper comic strips, was to be an artist. Sam credits a formal, British, and Shakespeare-laden education for her love of words. Her work combines degrees in both electronic engineering and art with language, and plays in the realm where the visual and the verbal intersect.

She also leverages the traditional needlecrafts she learned from her grandmothers, and a twenty year career in quilt-making, to inform the contemporary fiber pieces of her current series. A graduate of California State University Channel Islands, Sam is currently finishing the final year of a Masters in Fine Art in Intermedia at James Madison University where she teaches some of her grandmothers’ tricks in the Introduction to Fiber course. Hunter has shown work in California, New York, Colorado, and Virginia. She received Art Department Program Honors at CSUCI in California and recently received the Grant Fellowship Award from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

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