Spotlight: Two Rising Artists Offer Unique Visions of the Dominican Diasporic Experience In a New Detroit Exhibition

Artists Tiffany Alfonseca and Monica Hernandez will showcase recent paintings in this exhibition at Library Street Collective, opening September 23.

Monica Hernandez, detail from The Velocity of time (2023). Photo: Tim Johnson. Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective, Detroit.

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What You Need to Know: Based in Detroit’s downtown, Library Street Collective presents boundary-pushing exhibition and hosts public programs aimed at platforming a diverse range of artists and contributing to the growth of the local arts community. Opening this week, Library Street Collective is presenting a two-artist exhibition, “Tiffany Alfonseca and Monica Hernandez: Found in Translation.” On view through November 8, 2023, the show features a vibrant selection of figurative paintings that illustrates Alfonseca’s and Hernandez’s individual explorations of their Dominican heritage as well as engages with the history and tradition of female representation. Leveraging the visual cultures of the Dominican diaspora, as well as of Black and Afro-Latinx communities, the artists’s work presents a cogent investigation into ideas around identity, personal and collective histories, and the future.

Why We Like It: The juxtaposition of Alfonseca’s and Hernandez’s paintings offers visitors of “Found in Translation” an intriguing opportunity to trace the similarities and differences between two contemporary painters with similar backgrounds. The commonalities between these two artists are apparent at the outset; both are based in New York City, use their Dominican roots as a source of inspiration, and work in a vivid and figurative style. Looking closer, however, reveals the varied nuances both in their styles and lines of creative inquiry. Employing bold color fields and multimedia details, Alfonseca homes in on the individual figure—both compositionally and thematically—exploring the myriad ways illustrative context affects perception of the individual. In Hernandez’s paintings, fragmentation and isolation of bodily forms offer an almost Surrealist interrogation of personhood and milieu. While both artist’s use bold color and dynamic compositional approaches in their work, together the show highlights the multifaceted nature of experience and culture.

According to the Gallery: “‘Found in Translation’ unites the synergetic work of two artists whose Dominican roots exist at the forefront of their practices. Their shared focus on the body as a visual motif is important in dissecting the amalgamation of various different cultures that uniquely make up the Dominican diaspora. The array of women presented throughout the canvases—in their various skin tones, hair textures, body types—aim to visually articulate that the Black and Af­ro-Latinx diaspora does not exist within a monolith, but that these communities are a cultural cornucopia that is vast, varied, and complex. Alfonseca and Hernandez look in part to the stories and traditions of their ancestors to create paintings with younger generations in mind, in hopes of providing a sense of visibility that was less pronounced in their own formative years.”

See featured works from the exhibition below.

Monica Hernandez, The Velocity of time (2023). Photo: Tim Johnson. Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective, Detroit.

Monica Hernandez, Jungle (2023). Photo: Tim Johnson. Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective, Detroit.

Tiffany Alfonseca, La nena tiene Poder (2023). Photo: Tim Johnson. Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective, Detroit.

Tiffany Alfonseca, Descontrol (sigue para lante nunca para atras) (2023). Photo: Tim Johnson. Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective, Detroit.

Tiffany Alfonseca, It ain’t my fault (2023). Photo: Tim Johnson. Courtesy of the artist and Library Street Collective, Detroit.

Tiffany Alfonseca and Monica Hernandez: Found in Translation” is on view at Library Street Collective, Detroit, September 23–November 8, 2023.


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