At an artists’ residency in rural Southwest Wisconsin in 2015, a group of residents (mostly white) were having a conversation about race. One of them remarked “Sometimes I wish I could just wake up, go to the studio, and paint flowers” insinuating that because of their own personal politics, gender, race, etc, they had an ethical obligation to make work about those issues- that somehow identity had precluded beauty as subject-matter. Coincidentally, that same morning Alejandro Jimenez-Flores had woken up, gone to the studio, and painted flowers.
Whether seen as evasive, defiant, or a tongue-in-cheek nod to his maternal surname, Jimenez-Flores’s flowers (and other subjects) aren’t shy about beauty. Their soft, airy surfaces and playful gestures joyfully proclaim their loveliness without remorse. In a delicate process that involves transferring pastel drawings from one surface to another, they also suggest the intimacy of relationships -both romantic and platonic- an idea strengthened by the fact that many of the flower images were sourced from text messages sent to Jimenez-Flores by his friends.
Combining the benign genres of still-life and gestural abstraction, Jimenez-Flores calls attention to the perceived neutrality of these traditions- a privileged non-position most often enjoyed by white, middle/upper-class persons. His claim on these subjects challenges assumptions about artists’ prescribed roles, and moreover, asks us to reexamine the the notion that formalist work is inherently apolitical.
Alejandro Jimenez-Flores (b.1989) is a conceptual artist. He attained a BFA in Studio Arts from the University of Illinois at Chicago In 2012 and a very minor in Poetry from School of Poetics in Marseille, France in 2013 ;). He thinks about concepts, idleness, funny things and likes using language to assess the limits of semiotics and its structures. Jimenez-Flores has been featured in a range of exhibition spaces including: Roots and Culture, Chicago, IL; ADDS DONNA, Chicago, IL; Elastic Arts, Chicago, IL; Evanston Art Center, Evanston, IL; FilmFront, Chicago, IL; Comfort Station, Chicago, IL; Neu West Berlin, Berlin, Germany; Plains Project, Chicago, IL; and Eel Space, Chicago, IL. His writings and works have appeared in Monsters & Dust, The Landline, and Internet Poetry.