“Tell me about a complicated man. Muse, tell me how he wandered and was lost when he had wrecked the holy town of Troy…. Now goddess, child of Zeus, tell the old story for our modern times. Find the beginning.”
– The Odyssey,1.1-11, by Homer, translated by Emily Wilson
Denny Dimin Gallery is pleased to announce Muse, a solo exhibition by Jessie Edelman on view from October 17th to November 25th, 2018. This is the artist’s second solo exhibition with the gallery, following Stills from “The End of Summer” in 2016. Her work was also featured in the gallery’s booth at UNTITLED Miami Beach in 2017.
In this new series of paintings, Edelman creates a pantheon of nine muses based on the goddesses of ancient Greek mythology. The idea of the muse has persisted in popular culture over the past millennia. In modern times, the artist’s muse has been understood as a beautiful and passive object of desire. Edelman turns this notion on its head as she reimagines the muse as the ultimate artist. Together, the nine goddesses are an active and omnipotent group of friends and influencers each of whom embodies a creative field such as music, dance, astronomy, and history. The exhibition is populated by portraits of the muses holding traditional and updated emblems such as the writing tablet and stylus, tragic and comedic masks, globe, paintbrush and palette, compass, and guitar. These timely paintings celebrate female creative prowess, reclaiming the muse as a mythological hero.
A stylistic departure from her earlier paintings, this new body of work includes the muses painted larger- than-life, in lush, bold colors and dynamic, contrapposto poses reminiscent of Renaissance fresco painting. In Muse, Edelman continues to explore agency in the creation and viewing of an artwork. The artist’s earlier works repositioned the consumption of beautiful vistas through the gaze of a female viewer, questioning how the artist’s interventions into the composition of a painting could alter the layers of storytelling within it. Edelman’s work continues to question the circumscribed roles of author, subject, and inspiration.
Jessie Edelman was born in 1986 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. She received her MFA in 2013 from Yale University and her BA in 2008 from Skidmore College. She has had solo exhibitions at Denny Gallery, Andrew Rafacz Gallery in Chicago and Robert Blumenthal in New York, and was in a two-person exhibition with David Humphrey at the Suburban in Milwaukee. Her work has been reviewed or featured in Brooklyn Magazine, Vogue and Artnet News.