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ARTISTS | Valerie Sparks


Valerie Sparks is a  photomedia artist whose practice is driven by her interest in the history and aesthetics of immersive environments. Her visual dialogue with frescos, glass houses, stereoscopic photographs and French scenic wallpapers from the 1800s inspire the creation of floor-ceiling dioramas where the boundary between reality, history and fantasy is often blurred. The exploration of historical collections and archives is a core element in Valerie’s practice, including those at the Vienna and La Rochelle Natural History Museums, the Musueè du Papier Peint in Rixheim, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Whitworth Gallery of Art, the Royal Institute of British Architects. 

Sparks has been the recipient of a number of awards including the Australia Council London Residency, the French Embassy Cite Des Arts Studio in Paris, the City of Port Phillip Rupert Bunny Award, Australia Council New Work funding, and Arts Victoria International Program funding. She was awarded the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize in 2016, the St Kevin’s Art Show prize for work on paper in 2019 and has been a finalist in the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, the Fremantle Print Award, Tidal, and the Hutchins Art Prize. Her work is in collections including the National Gallery of Australia, The National Gallery of Victoria and Art Bank. Valerie has a Masters of Fine Art from Monash University, a Bachelor of Arts (with a double major in Anthropology and Pacific Studies, Honours in Anthropology), and a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Drawing.



GOLD CHIP | one-night-only exhibition

Gallerysmith closes the 2023 curtain on December 12 with the annual exhibition, GOLD CHIP. At this one-night-only event, the gallery presents…

Sanctuary | Valerie Sparks

Sanctuary explores the symbiotic relationship between art and science through magnificent botanical imagery. Please contact the gallery to join Valerie Sparks' advance list -


Gallerysmith launches its 2023 exhibition program with a group exhibition which celebrates 15 years of gallery operations. This exhibition features works by more than 50 artists who have shown at the gallery between 2008 and 2023....

Sublime Sea – Rapture and Reality, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery

Sublime Sea: Rapture and Reality is a spectacular immersive exhibition about the power of the sea in human imagination. Through superb examples of paintings, sculpture, photography, film and the decorative arts, the exhibition evokes the overwhelming experience of nature, from intrepid journeys and mysterious grottos to the infinite space of the ocean. The exhibition includes loans from major galleries and museums around Australia, including Rupert Bunny’s Sea Idyll, Greg Semu’s The Raft, National Gallery of Victoria, Oswald Brierly’s Yacht Wanderer rounding Cape Horn, Australian National Maritime Museum, and numerous dazzling examples of sea life from Museum Victoria alongside works by contemporary artists including Tamara Dean, Petrina Hicks, Kate Rhode, Dena Kahan and Valerie Sparks.

Allusion and Illusion: the fantastical world of Valerie Sparks, Monash Gallery of Art.

This exhibition is the first in a series presented by MGA that profiles and explores the work of William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize alumni. Valerie Sparks won the Bowness Photography Prize in 2016 for her work ‘Prospero's Island – North East’ from the series Prospero's Island (2016). Sparks creates magnificently beautiful large-scale works that entice the viewer with perfectly impossible landscapes. These composite images, which could never exist in nature, draw attention to concerns over the destruction of landscape, post-colonialism and globalisation. Allusion and Illusion draws together key works, charting Sparks' significant practice and hinting at the exciting, immersive and innovative installations that will come next.

Tempest, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

With its roots in the Shakespearean play of the same name, Tempest is an exhibition which transforms Tasmania's Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG) into a world of shipwrecks and stormy seas, romance, discovery, tragedy and magic. Historic works from TMAG and other state collections exhibited alongside contemporary works by international and Australian artists including Tacita Dean, Valerie Sparks, Fiona Tan, William Kentridge, Pat Brassington, Rosemary Laing and Ricky Swallow. Tempest was curated by internationally acclaimed curator Juliana Engberg.

Austral-Asia: Contemporary photomedia, National Gallery of Australia

A group exhibition which highlights the very best of Australian and Asian photographic practice between 2000 and 2010.

With a View to Paradise, Linden Centre for Contemporary Art

Valerie Sparks presents four large scale photographs of the interior of Linden Centre for Contemporary Art creating a strangely unfamiliar site where otherwise familiar interior space play with memory and create a fictitious architectural history.



2019 this is not a wallflower, Bett Gallery Hobart

2018 Allusion and Illusion: the fantastical world of Valerie Sparks, Monash Gallery of Art.

2015 Le Vol, Masters Presentation, Monash Art School

2014 Le Vol, Turner Galleries

2012 Unnatural Migrations #1, Lowrise Projects

2011 Understory, Sutton Gallery Project Space; Little Bird, Big History, Gallerysmith

2010 this weather, Centre for Contemporary Photography

2008 Luminist, Alliance Franciase Melbourne; El Dorado Springs, Turner Galleries, Perth

2007 El Dorado Springs, Flinders Lane Gallery

2006 Linden Project Room, Melbourne Art Fair2005 The Organisation of the View, 3015 Paris France

2004 With a View To Paradise, Linden St Kilda Centre for Contemporary Art



2022 Water[shed] Bett Gallery Hobart

2021 Photo 2021 – Bowness Photography Prize Celebrates 15 years, Smith & Singer, St Kevin’s Art Prize, Winner Fremantle Print Award

2020 Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art, Linden Post Card Show Celebrates 30 Years, Linden New Arts, Refracted Reality , PICA Perth

2019 Sublime Sea – Rapture and Reality, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Banyule Works on Paper Prize, Hatch Contemporary Artspace, Hadley’s Art Prize, Hadley Orient Hobart, St Kevin’s Art Prize, St Kevins College, Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, Ravenswood School, Burnie Print Prize, Burnie Arts and Function Centre

2018 St Kevin’s Art Prize, St Kevin’s College, The Art of Collecting, CCP Fundraiser, Tidal, Devonport Regional Gallery

2017 Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre Perth:Speaking of History, Bett Gallery Hobart; Ravenswood Australian Women’s Art Prize, Ravenswood; Burnie Print Prize, Burnie Arts and Function Centre

2016 Tempest, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery, Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art – Winner, CCP 30 Years Fundraising Exhibition, CCP, Birds – Flight paths in Australian Art, Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery

2015 Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art, Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre, Arcadia, City of Glen Eira; Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast Art Gallery.

2014 Outland, Melbourne Art Fair, Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast Art Gallery, Semblance, this is no fantasy, Outland, this is no fantasy – Volta10 Basel

2013 10 Years – 30 Residencies, Turner Galleries, Perth,

2012 Monash University Maribor 2012 European Cultural Capital Project, Venice Biennale; Bowness Photography Award, Monash Gallery of Art; Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre

2011 Private Paradise, Withworth Gallery of Art, Manchester; Hutchins Art Prize, Hobart

2010  Austral-Asia – Contemporary photomedia of the last ten years, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra; Bowness Photography Award, Monash Gallery of Art; Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre; Tidal, Devonport Regional Art Gallery, Visions, Glen Eira City Council Gallery; Time Travel, Tweed River Art Gallery;

2009 Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre; Hutchins Works on Paper; Long Gallery Hobart, 20Plus, Flinders Lane Gallery; Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast Art Gallery; The View from here IV, Flinders Lane Gallery;

2008 Treasures, Flinders Lane Gallery; Here and Now, FLG; The Perfumed Garden, Flinders Lane Gallery

2007 Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award, Fremantle Art Centre; Valerie Sparks and Polixeni Papapetrou, Roger Williams Gallery Auckland, New Zealand; The View from Here II, Flinders Lane Gallery; Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, Gold Coast Art Gallery

2006 Proof, NGV Ian Potter; Tidal, Devenport Art Award; Treasures, Flinders Lane Gallery; The Alice Prize; Araluen Art Centre, Inhabitation, Australian Galleries; Linden Post Card Show, Linden Contemporary Art Gallery



2021 Winner – St Kevin’s Art Prize

2018 Bother McCarthy Memorial Prize for Best Work on Paper, St Kevin’s Art Prize

2017 2nd prize, Fremantle Print Award, Career Development grant from the Australia Council, Highly Commended – Burnie Print Prize Burnie Arts and Function Centre

2016 Winner – Bowness Photography Prize, Monash Gallery of Art

2015 Honorary Mention, Bowness Photography Prize, New Work Grant Australia Council, Copyright Foundation Career Fund

2012 Australian Postgraduate Award, Monash University

2010 Arts Victoria Grant, International Program; People’s Choice, Little Creatures Fremantle Print Award

2009 People’s Choice, Fremantle Print Award

2008 Skills and Arts Development Grant, Australia Council, London Residency

2007 Rupert Bunny Fellowship, City of Port Phillip

2006 The Tammy Kingsley, People’s Choice Award, The Alice Prize; Linden Post Card Show, 1 of 6 works selected for reproduction as a Linden Post Card; Arts Victoria Grant, International Touring

2005 Australia Council and Ian Potter Foundation grants to conduct research in France and Spain for new work.



National Gallery of Australia

National Gallery of Victoria

Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

Whitworth Gallery of Art Manchester

Monash Gallery of Art

Art Bank

Art Support, Creative Partnerships

Little Creatures Collection

City of Perth

Private Collections Australia, London, Paris, Hong Kong


2015 Masters Fine Art – Monash University2003 Bachelor of Fine Art, Drawing: Victorian College of the Arts
2001 Diploma of Visual Arts: RMIT
1996 Honours: Anthropology / Sociology: La Trobe University
1994 Bachelor of Arts, Double Major, Pacific Studies and Anthropology: La Trobe University

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