The National Veterans Art Museum (NVAM) is proud to present its upcoming exhibition, Portraits and Memories: Legacies of Service by Chicago-area artist Jeanine Hill-Soldner. The exhibit will showcase two series of oil paintings: Portraits of American Veterans, and Memories of an Era: Reflections of Our Time.
Portraits and Memories: Legacies of Service presents a unique perspective on an experience of military service that is often overlooked–that of the spouse, parent, sibling, or child of an active duty service member or veteran. The juxtaposition of veteran portraits with scenes of family life highlights an integral aspect of military culture that is rarely explored. Jeanine Hill-Soldner grew up in a military family. Her father, Sgt. Maj. Dan L. Hill, was a 30-year U.S. Marine Corps Veteran who served in WWII, Korea, and completed two tours in Vietnam. After he passed away, the artist felt compelled to create work that honored his service and experiences along with those of other military veterans and members of their communities. Personal stories and memory are integral to her work as Hill-Soldner links the experiences of veterans and those of their loved ones through a poignant visual program.
Portraits of American Veterans
The creation of Portraits of American Veterans began in 2009 and features the likenesses of 24 veterans who sat in the artist’s studio as she sketched and painted the initial impression of each person. Each veteran was asked to bring significant objects from their military experience with them, and to share memories of their service as Hill-Soldner painted which further aided in the capturing of each individual’s personality.
Memories of an Era: Reflections of Our Time
The paintings in this series are derived from family photographs taken near the Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station in Oahu, Hawaii during Dan L. Hill’s first tour in Vietnam, paired with photos he took himself while deployed. In each painting, scenes of the everyday life of the women and children of the Hill family are depicted alongside the daily realities of war featuring the men of the Marine Third Reconnaissance Battalion, Bravo Company. Together these paintings develop a chronicle that reaches across time and space to connect events as they may have occurred simultaneously, many miles apart. These works underline the significance of memory and illustrate how experiences shape veterans, their families, and military communities as a whole.
Jeanine Hill-Soldner’s work offers an important perspective on war as seen through the eyes of the children and spouses of service members. Side by side these two series of paintings offer a glimpse into the way in which military service has both defined the artist’s life, and driven decades of contemplation about the impact that war has had on hers and others’ lives.
Portraits and Memories: Legacies of Service will be on display beginning Tuesday, August 22nd through Saturday, October 28th, 2017 with an opening reception Friday, August 25th from 6-9PM.