Val Britton (b. 1977, Livingston, New Jersey) makes immersive, collaged works on paper that draw on the language of maps. Her mixed-media abstractions map not only physical locations but also psychological and emotional spaces. She is interested in how her work can explore the tension between chaos and imposed order, the concrete and the imaginary, the known and the unknown. Mapping serves as a metaphor for searching; an implication of the unknown in wide, open spaces; and a trace of how we see where we’ve been.
Britton attended Rhode Island School of Design, where she received her BFA in 1999, and she earned her MFA from California College of the Arts in 2006. She has exhibited her work in solo exhibitions throughout the United States, including Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco (2015), Foley Gallery, New York (2013), the San Jose Institute of Contemporary Art (2013), CES Contemporary, Laguna Beach, California (2013), the San Francisco Arts Commission Gallery (2012), Kala Art Institute, Berkeley (2012), and Recology, San Francisco (2010), among others. She has participated in group exhibitions at the Palo Alto Art Center (2015), Ascent Private Capital Management, San Francisco (2015), Gallery Wendi Norris, San Francisco (2015, 2013), Thoreau Center for Sustainability, San Francisco (2015), Dossier Outpost Gallery, New York (2014), the Mills Building, San Francisco (2014, 2013), California College of the Arts, Oakland (2014), the de Saisset Museum, Santa Clara, California (2013), the Museum of Art and History, Santa Cruz (2013), CES Contemporary, Laguna Beach (2013, 2012, 2011), the SFO Museum, San Francisco (2013), and A.I.R. Gallery, Brooklyn (2013), among others. Her work is in many public collections, including the New York Public Library, the New-York Historical Society, the Library of Congress, and the Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts at the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings, Sleek magazine (Berlin), Invisible City (Melbourne), Artweek, Elephant, and Katharine Harmon’s book The Map as Art: Contemporary Artists Explore Cartography. In 2012 Britton was commissioned by the San Francisco Arts Commission to create a permanent piece for San Francisco International Airport. A recipient of the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2010), she has participated in several residencies and fellowships, including Millay Colony for the Arts, Austerlitz, New York (2011), Recology, San Francisco (2010), Jentel Foundation, Banter, Wyoming (2010), Kala Art Institute, Berkeley (2009), Ucross Foundation, Clearmont, Wyoming (2009), and the Affiliate Program at Headlands Center for the Arts (2006). She lives and works in San Francisco.