Portraits and Memories: Legacies of Service
Exhibition Statement: Wall Text from the National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago
War affects us all. Do we share memories through generations? Are future generations destined to create unique memories, or in some way repeat the past? Do we connect with others when we sense a shared past in the form of communal memory? What I have observed is individuals with the ability to empathize with others feel connected to the past in the same way.
My painting process flows in a rhythmic dance of decisions and executions. As I proceed with my work the paintings gradually reveal a hidden complexity. Through this process I am working out the complexities of childhood and the ambiguities of a life with many kind of loss. Forms of loss include losing friends and family from constantly moving from base to base, losing loved ones due to illness or old age throughout one’s lifetime, and the recurring, yet precarious, temporary loss of a military family member who served multiple deployments.
True art moves and motivates each individual in a deep and personal way. This is the essence of art. The viewer brings their own experiences to the viewing of art, thus each one will interpret art on their own level. I have a story to tell too. My story will be a visual journey through the life of a man and his family, who also represent a generation. He is from a generation that knows of war and battled, where heroes achieve their highest merit by their survival against the odds.
This exhibit has been developing for almost two decades. The title is a fusion of my two most significant bodies of work; Memories of an Era and Portraits of American Veterans Project. Combined together, the paintings bring in sync my story and three generations of American veterans with their authentic personal stories. Both engaging and contemplative, the legacies of service from veterans who served in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq are reminders of their sacrifices. I want to offer insight into my individual experiences and at the same time relate them to wider cultural experiences.
-Jeanine Hill-Soldner 2017
2009 , 2010 Lakeside Legacy Arts Park. Crystal Lake,
2011, 2014, 15, 2018 Algonquin Area Public Library, Algonquin, IL
2011 Northern Trust Bank, Chicago, IL
2011 Shah Center, McHenry County College, IL
2011 Ela Area Public Library, Lake Zurich, IL
2012 Lake/McHenry Veterans Center, McHenry, IL
2012-13 GE Cultural Fine Art Gallery, Fairfield, CT
2013 McHenry County Mental Health Board Lobby
2014 Addison Village Hall and Library, Addison, IL
2014 “Welcome Home” Open Wall, Chicago
2016 Sage Gallery, Lakeside Arts Park, IL
2017 Elgin Academy, Elgin, IL
2017 National Veterans Art Museum, Chicago
2020 Wadsworth Gallery, Lewis University, Romeoville, IL
2020- 21 Water Street Galleries, Batavia, IL
2023-24 "Call to Duty" Devonshire Cultural Center, Skokie, IL
Copyright c 2023 Jeanine Hill-Soldner All rights reserved.