For Val, painting is an act of devotion, offering a profound pathway to self-realisation and transformation. “Pigments have a consciousness. When I paint, I imbue these materials with the focussed energies of my heart, mind, and gestures of my body. The pigments absorb these energetic frequencies, and project them back out to me, and the future viewer of the work. Painting is its own language, beyond words and the limitations of the logical mind.”

A former professional ballet dancer, Val studied at Emily Carr University, where she graduated in 1988 with honours and received the Helen Pitt Award. Nelson’s artistic practice has been diverse over the course of her career, encompassing video, dance performance, painting, and drawing. In 2003 she was a finalist in the Royal Bank Painting Competition. She has received numerous grants and awards including a Canada Council Travel grant, an artist grant for her residency at Vermont Studio Centre, and Visual Arts Development Award (Contemporary Art Gallery/Vancouver Foundation). Her paintings and drawings have been published in Carte Blanche Volume II: Painting (Magenta Foundation), International Painting Annual 3 (Manifest Drawing and Research Centre), Capilano University Press, and Subterrain Magazine, among others. Public institutions that have collected her work include Agnes Etherington Art Centre, Canada Council Art Bank, Surrey Art Gallery, and Vancouver General Hospital. Nelson’s video collaborations with dance artists such as the Holy Body Tattoo have been shown in Berlin, New York, London, across Canada and the US.


“…intellectually and artistically daring work…”

Gilbert Bouchard, Edmonton Journal


 “The highlight of the show… loose, intelligent brushwork…”

Christopher Brayshaw, The Georgia Straight


“…she crafts the kind of post-photographic painting that does its best to make an eye dulled by electronic media vibrate anew. I am happy to say she is largely successful.”

Terence Dick, Akimbo


“…an artist going places…”

Betty Ann Jordan, Canadian House and Home