Jaime Molina’s Enigmatic Wooden Figures: Meditative and Slumbering Sculptures

All images © Jaime Molina, courtesy of Paradigm Gallery, shared with permission

Jaime Molina’s wooden figures are mysterious and enigmatic. The minor characters atop angular bodies and large heads that split open to reveal inner objects appear to be in a perpetual state of meditation or slumber. The faces of many figures are framed with rows of nails of various sizes and ages, while others have their entire bodies pierced. Each figure has closed eyes, a serene, solemn demeanor, and striped clothing of ambiguous forms on Molina’s sculptures. He believes that the various textures and sizes contribute to the overall effect of his works.
“Facial expressions to me are like words, syllables, or a distinct note in a song,” he explains. “The figure’s facial expressions and the ruffs and braids in their hair and bodies reflect these ideas of isolated languages and fabricated jargon. These patterns are like a quilt created from their experiences and memories, only imaginary.”
His work draws on folk and outsider art traditions, most obviously found materials. A partial logo is visible on a bench for one character, rusted and bent nails are combined with new fasteners, and a gnarled hunk of wood becomes a stage. He also states that he likes works “created just for the sake of creating.” The artist adds:

When I was a kid, my great uncle created a variety of things. He’d paint on old wood or saws and even carve stuff out of wood, and they were all over his home as well as at my grandmother’s. I liked seeing them because they were all over his house and some at my grandmother’s. I suppose it impacted me that you didn’t need to go to school or wait for a chance to make art. You didn’t have to attend a school or wait for anything. When you inclined, you could just create things.

To learn more about Molina’s work, which includes murals, major public sculptures, and other sculptural works, visit his website and Instagram.