Elena Climent Turquoise Table with Beach Photo 1996
Elena Climent Shelf with Purple Wall and Objects 1997
In this exhibition of jewel-like watercolors and vibrant
canvases, titled "To My Parents," Mexican-born Chicago painter
Elena Climent explores her own past and identity. The 35 small
and medium-sized still lifes on view are derived from photos of
objects taken in Climent's childhood home in Mexico City.
Obliged to sell the house after her mother's recent death (her
father, painter Enrique Climent, died in 1980), Climent
photographed objects in it to use later as references for the
The artist has developed a meticulous style that could be linked
with realism or magic realism a la Frida Kahlo, but it is neither.
Works such as the luminous watercolors Shelf with Purple Wall
and Objects, My Father's Bookcase and the large bright canvas
Corner Cabinet with Objects and Flowers, are intricately
detailed and complex without being cluttered. Recurring objects
such as a conch shell, votive candles and scorpions hint at an
allegorical content, a powerful and highly personal kind of
vanitas painting. But Climent is never heavy-handed. Her work
shows a painterly intelligence in its balance of expert
craftsmanship and vivid imagination.