'Pancho Jiménez: Impressions & Revelations' on view at Jenkins Johnson Gallery

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'Pancho Jiménez: Impressions & Revelations' on view at Jenkins Johnson Gallery
Installation view.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA.- Jenkins Johnson Gallery is presenting Santa Clara-based artist Pancho Jiménez’s solo exhibition Impressions & Revelations, exploring the elusiveness of dreams and memory. Joining together molded forms in unlikely combinations. Jiménez transforms kitsch elements into complex pieces with a rich and relevant focus. The juxtaposition of shapes in his sculptures may at first seem haphazard, but it is intentionally crafted to mimic the illusiveness of memory as it advances and recedes over time.

Interested in the universality of visual language and the human ability to assign meaning to symbols, Jiménez explores how meaning is formed by restructuring recognizable forms to investigate their universal significance. The artist started working with clay at a young age, which gave him the opportunity to explore his ideas through sculpture than through more traditional academic subjects. His background in art and history echoes in his artistic influences, ranging from ancient ruins of Mesoamerican art to architecture. His early work reflects the textured and carved surfaces of these ancient structures. Using a dense geometric vocabulary and patterned surfaces, these works echo the rich culture of these ancient civilizations. Making use of slabs, he carves symmetrical or organic forms on the surfaces, creating a visual tension, such as in Cara a Cara (2013) which teethers between unadulterated planes and richly textured surfaces.

Challenging the functionality of the clay which is traditionally used for objects like cups and vessels, Jiménez creates forms without any notion of utility. The artist is rather interested in the potentiality of the material which is both malleable and versatile. In his new series of work, the artist uses familiar objects such as childhood toys and tools to repurpose kitsch ceramic molds which are used to make items such as figurines and holiday decorations. Shifting his interest from symbols of the ancient past to contemporary world’s ritualistic objects, Jiménez continues his investigation into dreams and memories. This interest reflects in his series of abstract busts, hand-sculpted or utilizing assemblage of geometric forms. Presented in unlikely combinations, these works reveal figurines, skeletons, toys, and masks when looked closely — as complex as the structure of memories that are always in flux. In his most recent series, Biographies, these commercial clay molds become part of ceramic hairstyles of fictional characters, creating multiple personalities with various life stories.

Presented together, these works from different moments of the artist’s career reveal his fascination with human tendency to assign meaning and form memories. It is an excavation of a past that never was to restructure a new narrative about the current moment — haunted, eerie, and beautiful.

Pancho Jiménez holds an M.F.A. in Sculptural Ceramics from San Francisco State University, and his BA degree from Santa Clara University. He has exhibited internationally and nationally at universities, private galleries, and civic spaces. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Crocker Museum of Art in Sacramento CA, the Autry Museum of the American West in Los Angeles CA, the Triton Museum of Art in Santa Clara, CA, the University of San Francisco, Kaiser Permanente, and Santa Clara University’s Jesuit Community. Jiménez was named an Artist Laureate by SVCreates. His solo show at the Triton Museum of Art was named one of the Ten Best in Northern California by Art ltd. Magazine. He has been featured in Ceramics Monthly and numerous publications including, The Ceramic Design Book, Extruded Ceramics and 500 Ceramic Sculptures. He has taught courses at San Francisco State University and West Valley College and is currently a Senior Lecturer at Santa Clara University where he has been teaching since 1999.

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