Val Kilmer Art Show Opens at New York’s Woodward Gallery

May 20 to July 22

Headshot of Richard Horgan

In terms of branding himself as a different kind of artist, starting today at the Woodward Gallery on Eldridge Street in New York, actor Val Kilmer has come up with a heck of a brand name: Valholla. As in Val hollers and, also, the Viking definition.

From the exhibition notes:

The exhibition, ironically titled, discloses a new life as Kilmer redirects his path into contemporary gestural abstractions and colorful pop art. Val Kilmer’s Norse ancestry is conceptualized in his ascent to Valhalla (pronounced “val-HALL-uh”), where the dead who reside in Valhalla lived a life that would have been the envy of any Viking warrior. All day long, the warriors would fight one another, doing countless valorous deeds along the way. But every evening, all their wounds would be healed and become restored to full health.

Kilmer explains the abstract series is born from the perspective that matter isn’t matter, it’s energy. And energy is viewable or instigated, according to modern physics, by thought or perception. This metaphysical reality stretches so far beyond physical reality that images help satisfy the fragile human mind’s inability to grasp the infinite.

That premise resonates throughout Kilmer’s labor in this series of abstracts. He will start the day exploring an emotion–from prayer, a bit of newsprint, a song, the ocean, music or birds. A gesture of color–an impulse–often counter-intuitive, shifts his process from slow, quiet and lazy to breakthrough moments attacking with a frenzy of movement. Suddenly the painting starts to emerge, like the old days of developing a photograph, and something familiar emerges. Kilmer follows it, tries to serve it.

The gallery promises that Kilmer will be randomly in attendance throughout the show, which runs until July 22. The actor, artist and cancer survivor also has a great quote about New York in the exhibit notes. “My love for New York is very, very deep,” he explains. “Because of the theater it has been my Mecca since early childhood. Every film, every photograph spoke of the promise of a new life, worth dreaming of… It is holy ground for me.”

This is Kilmer’s NYC fine art debut. Woodward is an appointment-only gallery, but some of the art can be seen through the establishment’s Gallery Windows initiative. Gallery owners John and Kristine Woodward also had a hand in the new documentary Shadowman, about 1980s street artist Richard Hambleton.

H/T: Chris Inoa

Previously on Fishbowl:
When Val Kilmer Made Bob Dylan a Mix Tape

@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.