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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 paintings.

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.

 
 
 

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