Flower, 2020, 8” x 10”, Coloredpencil, crayons, and rhinestones on dyed paper (Left)
Flor Caida
, 2020, 8” x 10”, Coloredpencil, crayons, and rhinestones on dyed paper (Middle)
Green Flower,
2021, 8” x 10”, Coloredpencil and rhinestones on dyed paper (Right)

Jamás Volveré a Derramar Uno Lágrima por Ti, 2021, 12" x18", Graphite on paper (Left)
Tusa Matada, Nunca Jamás Despreciada ,
2021, 12" x18", Graphite on paper (Middle)
Lo Jugaste Todo, Al Fin te Quedaste Solo,
2021, 12" x18", Graphite on paper (Right)

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Juan Arango Palacios' Instagram: @juuuanitx

They Seek to Glimmer

Exhibition Date: February 6th - March 13th, 2021
Artist Talk: Sunday, February 21st, 2021 @ 10 am CST via Zoom

They Seek to Glimmer highlights and amplifies a sense of emotional vulnerability in relation to living as a queer person in our contemporary context. This solo exhibition by Juan Arango Palacios pairs moments of insecurity, heartbreak, sadness, resilience, prosperity, and friendship with personified characters in order to create a narrative that places the queer experience at center stage. By depicting intimate interactions among lovers and friends, these drawings bring forth the idea of chosen family and the importance of community and emotional support among folks who aren’t included within the cis-hetornormative norm. These works aim to expose dysphoria and self-doubts revolving around topics of romance, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Drawing from their own personal experience,their cultural roots, and modern-day internet culture, Juan creates images that reveal an affectionate complexity of everyday life. Delicate flowers become lively portraits, flashy clowns overcome their fears and insecurities, and references to make up and fashion crazes bring these images to a more familiar and relatable level. Drawing as a medium provides clarity and intimacy, given that the small scale of these works is meant to be admired at an individual and personal level. Juan invites the viewer to share a moment of familiarity with these drawings and, for the time being, just let their feelings run their course.

Curatorial Statement:

In They Seek to Glimmer, Juan Arango Palacios drew integral moments from their life to illustrate the gamut of queer thoughts and feelings. The multiple timelines present themselves in the works through the interweaving of reality and fantasy. Memories of growing up as a queer individual are captured through embellished images of flowers, selfies, clowns, and intimate relationships. The flamboyant sparkles and vibrant hues contrast the often-moody portraits.  The reoccurring flowers symbolize freedom to the artist as they were abundant during their childhood.  The aromas of their past carry over to these figures’ later lives. Rendered in monochromatic tones, the individuals appear to be either taking selfies in their best going out looks or experiencing moments of sadness or contemplation. The colorful portraits of clowns seem like a façade, using makeup to cover up emotional wounds that often adore them. Beneath all of that coverage is that glimmer of hope. Although Palacios renders the sometimes painful journey of queer transformation, their playful renderings shine onto the future. The glimmer they seek has always been there.


Juan Arango Palacios was born in Pereira, Colombia, and was raised in a traditional Catholic home. Their traditional upbringing was cut short by a series of migrations that their family took seeking a better future. The family moved from Colombia to southern Louisiana where Juan’s sense of identity and belonging began to be skewed by their lack of knowledge of the English language, their unfamiliarity with American culture, and their internal struggle with a queer identity. Living in other parts of Louisiana and Texas, and being further subdued by the conservative culture in which they lived, Juan continued to live with a constant fear of their own identity throughout their youth. Juan currently studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and has found a safe-haven within the queer community in Chicago.

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