Chicago Artists Coalition is pleased to present Translucent Beauty and other Guardians, an exhibition featuring works by HATCH 2019-2020 residents, Ellen Holtzblatt and Juan Molina Hernández, and curated by Juelle Daley. The exhibition will have an opening day on Friday, May 7, by appointment only, from 3-8pm. Please reserve your time here:
Translucent Beauty and other Guardians is a meditation on familial relationships, its fault lines, frictions and the ferocious love that can emerge during intimate times spent together.
These elements form the axis around which the paintings, drawings and photographs of the artists, Ellen Holtzblatt and Juan Molina Hernández orbit. They also lay bare the complexities of parenthood and how one manifests “taking care” when executed by adult children. The artists create environments of safety and protective landscapes that form as guardians to watch over family members. Both artists become the Other Guardians of their family narratives with images imbued with dignity and reverence but devoid idolatry or glorification. In doing so, tenderness and implicit familial messiness come together like a floral arrangement crafted to honor, protect and make reproachments whether the subjects are still among the living or dead.
Translucent Beauty makes allusion to the impossibility of fully seeing and knowing the other, even when that person is related to you. Do we ever fully know them? This inability to fully “see through” the prism of familial identity is explored and compelled the artists to create portraiture as renditions or glimpses of the sitter’s interiority. Framing and composition are intentional and provide a spectrum of degrees of intimacy and emotional proximity to the subjects. The artists seem to ask, what do I see when I look at you? I see myself, I see nothing, I see vulnerability and fragility at the same time as resilience. This intersection results in unique portraits of mothers, fathers, nephews, cousins, grandparents who become mirrors of a self that lurks for clues and possible resemblance.
“Have you not made a fence around him and his house and all that he has, on every side?” – Book of Job, Chapter 1 v. 10
The artwork of Holtzblatt and Molina Hernández demands that we ‘lean in’ and linger our gaze on the faces of ordinary people captured in landscapes uniquely crafted to contain and to protect them from societal harm and possibly from themselves.
Image (from left to right): Ellen Holtzblatt, My Beloved, 60 “ x 30”, oil on linen, 2019 ; Juan Molina Hernández, mi otro yo (my other me), dimensions vary, 2020. Courtesy of the artists