Leslie Jiménez: It is Here | It is Now | I Am

October 7, 2017 – April 6, 2018

Curated by Charmaine Branch

On view at the Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion, 1150 St. Nicholas Ave. at 168th Street
Leslie JiménezLeslie Jiménez. A Humble Hero at Work, 2017. Polyester thread on paper; 21 x 11 in. Courtesy the artist.

It is Here | It is Now | I Am considers everyday happenings in the public spaces of Washington Heights and surrounding neighborhoods as moments of heroism. The artist Leslie Jiménez has created intricate thread works on semi-transparent paper as part of the ongoing series, Uptown Humble Heroes that imbues seemingly mundane actions with multilayered significance. Her unconventional use of thread blurs the division between historically considered feminine craft, such as embroidery or sewing, with the “high art” of painting and sculpture. The overlapping thread builds a three-dimensional sense of movement and reflects the transient nature of the scenes in Uptown Humble Heroes.

Jiménez has long been interested in the disconnect between the development of the self, versus societal expectations of what girlhood and womanhood should be. In works such as It is Now. Dreaming about Flying a young child runs with balloons trailing behind. The whimsical scene reflects the uninhibited nature of childhood that can be hindered by outside forces. Many of the heroic tasks within the series are related to supporting children, and remaining present in the role of a parent.  

The location of the Russ Berrie Medical Science Pavilion within Washington Heights situates the building within the hub of human interactions depicted in Uptown Humble Heroes. People push children in strollers, carry umbrellas on rainy afternoons, or wait for the bus in a sunhat. Jiménez views It is Here | It is Now | I Am as an extension of the neighborhood and the moments within it.

Leslie Jiménez is an interdisciplinary artist working in painting, illustration, threadwork, and other mediums. Jiménez earned degrees from the school of design, Altos de Chavón, in the Dominican Republic and Parsons, The New School of Design in New York City. She was recently featured in the exhibition Uptown: Nasty Women/Bad Hombres at El Museo del Barrio where she also created two murals. Other institutions where her work has been exhibited include JCC Harlem, Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation, Scope (Contemporary Art Fair), CUNY in the Heights, and the Dominican Studies Institute at the City College of New York. Jiménez will be the 2017-2018 artist-in-residence at the Sugar Hill Children’s Museum of Art and Storytelling.  

Charmaine Branch is a second year M.A. student in the Modern Art: Critical and Curatorial Studies (MODA) program at Columbia University and the 2017-2018 Russ Berrie Fellow of the Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery at Columbia University. She received a B.A. in Art History from Vassar College and was awarded a Fulbright Teaching Fellowship to Argentina.

The Russ Berrie Pavilion Exhibition Series highlights the work of contemporary artists from upper Manhattan. The series offers an annual opportunity for a graduate student to take on a curatorial role, gain valuable experience, and learn about creativity in the neighborhood. This series is a collaboration between Columbia University's Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, the Office of Public Programs and Engagement at School of the Arts, and Government and Community Affairs at Columbia University Medical Center.