The House is
Jeffly Gabriela Molina’s contemplative
paintings reflect on memories,
home, and transformation
By Kate Mothes
Ranging from self-portraiture to still life to compositions evocative of altar pieces, Chicago-based artist Jeffly Gabriela Molina sifts through memories, daydreams, and reflections in her contemplative oil paintings. Born and raised in Venezuela, she looks back on her family history while considering her contemporary experiences in the U.S. and various ways of interpreting her identity as an artist, woman, daughter, granddaughter, wife—and myriad more intertwined variations.
Motifs like flowers, glasses of water, old photographs, or rocking chairs suggest deeply personal associations and layered memories. “Some of the images that I create are from a time that I never knew, of a Venezuela of yesterday, of my parents growing up in a family not yet dispersed as a result of the dictatorship,” she says in a statement. “Other images are inspired by my memories and moments of the present, specifically my experience of marriage and work in the U.S.”
In the dandelion gone to seed, a symbolic image that appears more than once, she references periods of transformation, fragile new dynamics, self-discovery, and preparing for the future. In paintings like Daydream or Heaven is a Place, interiors and exteriors merge and overlap to become a fluid space, paralleling the way one compartmentalizes thoughts or transitions from one space—or way of being—to another.
As a survey of people and events that have shaped her life and identity, her recent body of paintings ask the question, “How does one become what one is?”, providing some tentative answers while acknowledging the constant of change. Find more of Molina’s work on her website and Instagram.
“Some of the images that I create are from a time that I never knew, of a Venezuela of yesterday, of my parents growing up in a family not yet dispersed as a result of the dictatorship.”
All images © Jeffly Gabriela Molina
Header: I See Myself in Them, Those Dandelions, 2022. Oil on linen, 22 x 17 x 2 inches