This exhibition brings together wood furniture, paintings, small sculpted wood objects and assemblages crafted by Daniel Loomis Valenza (b. 1934). The earliest work in the show, a walnut coffee table with wood inlay dates from 1956, other pieces include chairs, tabletop and decorative items, and later experimental pieces informed by his interest in conceptual art.
The furniture and sculptural objects demonstrate Valenza’s individualistic approach to form and function evolving over forty years. His work began seriously as design problems to solve, but as his practice matured, it lost its pretense, becoming less functional and more sculptural and experimental by incorporating industrial materials and commercial references, displaying his lively intellect and wit. During a recent visit, he said, “I lost my preciousness in the 1970s.”
As an artist and father to four children, Valenza built toys and functional pieces of furniture for his family, such as tables and bookcases, some of the pieces in the show signs of loving use. In the 1980s Daniel embarked on one of his most elaborate projects, building a post and beam home in which he still resides.
Valenza taught woodworking at the University of New Hampshire from 1959–1999 inspiring countless students with his imaginative assignments and an open-shop policy that welcomed art majors and non-majors alike. Under Valenza’s helm, the hum of shop activity was balanced by the notes of classical music steeped into the space, at times slow and calm, at others an animated force, much like Daniel’s own individualistic creations.