Sep 13th 2023

Jeffly Gabriela Molina: How One Becomes What One Is?

McHenry County College’s Art Gallery is pleased to present How One Becomes What One Is?, a solo exhibition by Chicago artist Jeffly Gabriela Molina. The show opens on August 7 and runs through September 15. Molina will give an Artist Talk on Wednesday, September 13, beginning at 2:30 p.m., followed by a closing reception.

August 7 – September 15, 2023
McHenry County College | Galleries One & Two
8900 U.S. Highway 14, Crystal Lake, IL 60012

Artist Talk & Closing Reception: Wednesday, September 13
2:30 p.m. — Artist Talk in the Luecht Auditorium, B170 | In-person and presented virtually on Zoom:
4:00 p.m. — Closing Reception in Gallery One, A212x

Free and open to the public

For more information, please visit:


My paintings are inspired by personal history and contemporary life in places I have lived in Venezuela and the United States.

This exhibition is an essay on identity. Its title, “How One Becomes What One Is?” is both a question and a statement that weaves together a body of work that relies on figurative and still-life compositions to reflect my experience of home, family, and work.

A group of single-object still-life paintings titled “Homemade Sculptures” acknowledges my experience of finding a home. These paintings specifically address what it feels to create a home after many years of searching for one. They seek to render a state of vulnerability and transience.

The enlarged glass of water refers to a gesture of faith practiced by my mother and grandmother. In times of distress, a glass of water for the holy souls (to drink) would appear on a shelf or in the center of the dining room table. The glass was always on a plate to prevent guests and household members from drinking the Souls’ water. This painting is a form of prayer in response to a world that grows unpredictable and scary. The frame was painted red to express a sense of urgency.

Images of family, ancestors, and ghosts accompany a present that honors and wants to learn. Some of the family portraits reference a time that I never knew, a Venezuela of yesterday that today’s nostalgia transfigures. These paintings conjure up an epoch of my parents growing up in a family not yet dispersed as a result of the dictatorship.

Figurative paintings such as “Feelings,” “Portrait of a Clown,” and some others are inspired by the emotions that have guided and stemmed from the pursuit of my dreams and by a persistent feeling of loneliness that has accompanied me since childhood.

These images that traffic in everyday life and a history of migration speak of what life is made of: memories, family, work, loss, and love.


Jeffly Gabriela Molina is a Chicago-based interdisciplinary artist from Táchira, Venezuela. She moved to the US in 2007 and lived in Miami for four years, where she attended the New World School of the Arts. In 2011, Molina transferred to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she graduated with a BFA in 2013 and an MFA in 2016. In addition to participating in multiple group and solo exhibitions, she has undertaken two permanent public sculpture commissions in Miami. Recent solo exhibitions include “Fragments of an Imaginary Home” at The Weather Station in Lafayette, Indiana, and “De Madeira y Aire” at Galeria Enrique Guerrero in Mexico City. She has been awarded an Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Driehaus Museum, the AAF/Seebacher Prize for Fine Arts, a Carol Becker’s Dean Grant, and a John W.
Kurtich scholarship.

View Molina’s work at or on Instagram @jefflymolina.


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