Valerie Huhn began her art education at The New School – Parsons and the School of Visual Arts before completing her BFA and MFA degrees at the San Francisco Art Institute.
Valerie works in a variety of media from photography and video to mixed-media to sculpture and site-specific installation. Her work has been shown throughout the United States and internationally. Residencies include time in Long Beach Island, NJ, Aspen, CO, chashama in New York City, and a residency at Aferro Studios in Newark, NJ. Her work is included in the former Bell Telephone Building in Newark, The Fortune Society, and private collections. She lives and works in Flemington, NJ.
People have used fingerprints for mark-making since the earliest recorded days of civilization. From the handprints left in the caves of Chauvet and early Chinese fingerprints imprinted in pottery and used as a signature of the artisan, they continue to be a mark-making mode for artists of the present.
Yet fingerprints today are far more likely to be used for marking others than for stamping a claim of ownership or creation. They are most widely employed by the police and forensic labs, banking institutions, and government health services. Of course, interpreting these prints is an art in itself. And for all their apparent individual information, fingerprints tell us nothing about age, race, income, or anything else about a person that can be used for enforcing social constructs that define categories of oppression.
Where fingerprints were once used as a symbolic action of pride, they have now become a passive action—we are fingerprinted. I am interested in bringing humanity back to the fingerprint—whether in obsessive repetitious patterns or the intimate setting of a personal bureau that houses our second skin.
The fingerprint work in this series is created with my right index finger. Each print is cataloged with the date it was created beneath it. The work revolves around identity—identifying and categorizing people into groups and subgroups within society. It is the notion of a fixed self or our identification of others that I am challenged by the use of color, shape, and pressure in every print I leave behind—along with its accompanying date.