Kavi Gupta presents the first major solo exhibition of paintings by Venezuela-born, Chicago-based artist Jeffly Gabriela Molina.
Molina’s paintings wrestle with the alchemy between seeing and feeling—that is to say, between precise optical perception and the fleeting moments of memory and emotion that fill everyday life. Each composition is an amalgam of poetry, memory, personal experience and communal relationships—a metaphysical data point; a captured glimpse of a half-remembered day dream.
Born in San Cristóbal, the capital city of the Venezuelan state of Táchira, Molina first remembers asking for paints at age five. She moved around frequently as a child, living at times in Colombia, at times in Venezuela, sometimes in the city, and sometimes in the country. Instability taught her to embrace the beauty of the moment. “My art has always been about that which surrounds me,” she says. “My experience toward beauty is something I carry with me.”
Like Marianne Moore, Molina’s favorite poet, who was known both for imaginative language and precise diction, Molina developed an aesthetic position that is both poetic and structured. Her work is haunting, dreamlike, and conceptually open—yet meticulously constructed and thought out.
She is inspired by the challenge of expressing ideas, which are inherently abstract, as pictures, which are inherently concrete. She strives to make each picture come alive, so viewers will see in it something that reminds them of themselves.
Structurally, the hard-edged diagonals, shadows and light, isolated figures and architectonic spaces in Molina’s compositions evoke comparisons to the chiaroscuro works of Metaphysical painter Giorgio De Chirico. Her oft-anonymous figures might be at home in a Surrealist landscape or a Dada-ist collage, except these figures are not alienated or lost—they are rather introspective, or perhaps bemused. They are caught in moments of contemplation, imagining where they fit in to the flow of time. Says Molina, “The silhouettes are sometimes empty to avoid specific identity references. They are not white, black, male, female, whatever. They are human.”
Pattern is also essential to Molina work. Like Pattern and Decoration artists in the 1970s and 80s, Molina reclaims beauty and the decorative motif as an expression of the highest beauty, and of the existential harmony between humanity and nature. Whether used in the background, or as substance filling the voids of figures and forms, patterns hint at personal history, at fragments of memories, or at the unseen aspects of life.
Molina moved to Miami, Florida, in 2007, intent on learning to speak English so she could study art. She began her art studies in a community college in Miami. In 2011, she transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), where she earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in 2013, and her Master of Fine Arts degree in 2016. This is her first exhibition at Kavi Gupta.
Opening Reception: February 10, 5-8pm, artist talk at 7pm.