• “I want to be a storyteller for people who look like me. The people whose stories have been marginalized and ignored. What I want to do is be the person that I needed when growing up—someone who depicts the complexities of Black life, what it means to be queer, and how it is OK. I aim to provide greater representation of my people within the art historical canon.” 


    - Clotilde Jiménez

  • Press Release
  • Artwork List
  • The Body is a Portrait

    by Danny Dunson


    Clotilde Jiménez’s work is primarily figurative; though there has been a departure into still life compositions, these moments also reference the body. In conventional portraiture, artists depict facial expressions to convey interior thoughts of their subjects; often particular narratives are surmised when viewing distraught eyes, a menacing grin, or a cold blank stare. Contrary to conventional modes of portraiture, like an abstractionist, Jiménez utilizes self-evaluated emotions to expressionistically create form. Through a rigorous self-analysis of his life’s emotional encounters, these forms appear as faces, bodies, and symbols, based on lived experiences, critical meditations, and an art historical dialogue.


    Jiménez’s skillful figuration is not static, intended to be contemplated technically and formally alone. Though the sophistication of the artist’s considerable technical abilities warrants critical engagement and praise, the most compelling qualities of his work are conceptually based. In disparate modes: journal sketches, fully realized drawings and paintings, bronze sculpture, and collage, the body is consistently central, operating within individual and group portraits that privilege its expressive poses and gestures, within idiosyncratic storytelling, further accentuated by clothing and props.


    Referencing intricate aspects of Jiménez’s life, strategically cut and arranged layers of multimedia collage, activate a dynamistic viewing of the visual narratives presented. “Most of my work is autobiographical, so collage allows me to tell several stories at the same time”, Jiménez states. Through a kaleidoscope lens, composite portraits within montaged vignettes, offer a dream-like gaze into the artist’s inner thoughts.


    Vividly inviting, playful, and whimsical, Jiménez’s imaginative dexterity materializes in imagery reminiscent of children’s fables. Like in fairy tales, before living happily ever after, the images’ subjects are bound up in traumatic happenings, experienced by the protagonist. Jiménez’s collaged vignettes are representative of both childhood experiential development, and a continuum of understanding of the inner child, applied through the maturity, and wisdom of his adulthood. Demonstrating the artist’s most inner thoughts, the body materializes in variant modes, represented through a singular vocabulary of distorted faces, contoured poses, exaggerated gesture, provocative coloration, sinuousness, girthy voluptuousness, muscularity, and scale.

    Read the full essay in the forthcoming catalogue for this exhibition.


    From installation and opening


    Clotilde Jiménez is a visual artist, born in Honolulu and based in Mexico City. 

    Jiménez’ work celebrates the nuances of being a queer and Black hispanic male while exploring the limitations placed on the body in light of race, gender and sexuality. Although the experience behind Jiménez’s work is subjective, a level of universal symbolism is present, ultimately exploring rigid definitions of ‘Blackness.’

    The artist emphasizes, “the work became a tapestry of my life that transcribes and reconstructs the societal idée fixe of the black body in popular culture, while also undermining the notions of gender normativity within a black subjectivity.” 

    Jiménez has exhibited at The Mennello Museum of American Art, Orlando; Phillips, New York; the Slade School of Fine Art, London; and the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, Seattle. He earned his MFA from The Slade School of Fine Art, and his BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art.