Val Archer's paintings are meticulous, generously coloured and deeply attentive to form and texture. Her intensity of observation reflects a lifetime looking at the ideas surrounding what painting is, has been and can be.
Archer was born in Northampton, England, and studied at Northampton School of Art, Manchester College of Art and at the Royal College of Art. She has lived and worked in London since 1968.
Archer’s first solo exhibition was at the long-established Kunsthaus Buhler in Stuttgart, Germany, in 1975. She exhibited with Fischer Fine Art, London, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and with Noortman, Maastricht in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In 1982 Archer was the co-creator of the Tate Gallery’s award winning exhibition Paint and Painting about the history of art materials and of colour and technique in painting. She has exhibited widely in the USA, Europe and the UK and, since 1998, the Chris Beetles Gallery in St James’s, London has staged exhibitions of her work every two years. She is known for her detailed, textural paintings that “so carefully manages to avoid the story-telling quality which bedevils so much of contemporary still life painting which, however skilled, turns it finally into more than brilliant illustration. People like art to tell a story, of course, and her rejection of this easy option is brave.” (Stuttgarter Zeitung)
Travel has long informed Archer’s work and, for the past 15 years, she has divided her time between her studios in London and Tuscany recording everyday natural and man-made objects. For as long as she has been working, Archer has been offering the fruits of her observations: “I’ve always loved looking at things…it’s like eating with your eyes.”