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An Artist Goes to Sea (And Other Stories) : Tonga, Iceland, the Vatican--Jeffrey Vallance gets around. The artist's explorations are collected in a new retrospective.

April 09, 1995|Hunter Drohojowska-Philp | Hunter Drohojowska-Philp is chair of the department of liberal arts and sciences at Otis College of Art and Design

Vallance's mother, an amateur landscape painter who died in 1984, was supportive of his art. "She saw it as carrying on the family tradition," the artist says.

Vallance is currently working on three different shows. He has organized an exhibition of Liberace portraits by contemporary artists for the Liberace Museum in Los Vegas to open on April 28. He has organized a show of portraits of Debbie Reynolds for the Debbie Reynolds Casino, also in Vegas also for late April. His clown show for the Vegas Clown Museum has no opening date as yet.

"Usually," says Vallance, "these museums are static. They have one exhibition and it doesn't change. This is a sort of layering in of unofficial portraiture in the official repository of identity."

These projects speak to the essence of Vallance's art--the penetration of officialdom. "I've always done it. It's in all the work, infiltrating institutions," says Vallance. "Over the years, I've infiltrated politics, religion and the FBI. But I become like a double agent because once I infiltrate, I start to believe."

* \o7 "The World of Jeffrey Vallance," Santa Monica Museum of Art, 2437 Main St., Santa Monica. Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, 11 a.m.- 6; Friday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Ends June 11. (310) 399-0433.

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