L.A. Artcore is pleased to present a retrospective of Jean Edelstein. A
well-known woman artist, she has exhibited her work for over thirty years
in New York and California, and her work is in many private and public
collections. This exhibition concentrates on the recent twenty years of her
oeuvre. Edelstein is a master of figure drawing and she has explored this
talent through delicate pastels, portraits of disaster victims done in sumi
ink on paper, and performance pieces of dance movement where Edelstein
captured the pictorial instantaneous images on glass amid the dancers on
stage. In all of these works Jean Edelstein endeavors to connect herself
The seeds of Edelstein's spiritual awakening can be traced to a visit to
Japan in 1968. Upon viewing rock and sand gardens for the first time, she
became aware of feeling a state of peace and harmony that was unlike any
sensation she had previously known. She was also attracted to the manner in
which the Japanese scroll is hung in the home. Her Temple Series, done in
1980, are done in a vertical scroll format that contain bar-and-rectangle
configurations. They are intended to function as contemporary icons.
Edelstein began the paintings by laying down the support flat on a table
and treating its surface with gesso. This directed procedure then gives way
to a series of intuitive gestures. Painting very rapidly, she brushes on
several layers of acrylic. Textural effects are achieved by painting over
cheesecloth and color. She pulls open the weave of the cheesecloth to let
in areas of background color. The cheesecloth also serves as a way of
blocking off areas of the composition. Throughout the process, she works
both consciously and intuitively, and the final completion is an intuitive
choice. The visual effect of their rigid structure combined with the softly
changing surface is meant to invite the viewer to take part in a perceptual
experience that is both contemplative and exhilarating. The bar may be
described as a symbol of faith and endurance. It can also be interpreted as
a column of a temple. Edelstein also makes an association between the bar
and the human spinal column.
In 1984 Jean did an installation of dancers on columns called Spirit of
the Goddess. Edelstein was impressed with cultures that produced sacred
architecture, and she became increasingly involved with the female presence
that surrounded this architecture, such as the goddesses, and woman
worshippers who danced and sang to the spirit of life.
In 1991 Jean worked closely with a Korean Shaman who was also a dancer.
Before Jean began to work with a Shaman, she remained the objective artist.
Her model, the dancer, was conceived of as a person completely separate
from her. The change in Edelstein's work was that there was no longer a
clear-cut boundary between what we call the artist and what we refer to
as the model. On the contrary, during this shamanic work, the two merged
and the end result was a collaborative vision.
In 1995, Jean Edelstein turned to portraiture to describe the disasters of
war, poverty and hunger, including titles such as Israel, Rwanda (a
mother weeping and embracing her child), and Bosnia. Done in sumi ink and
acrylic, each portrait measures 18x 21. Edelstein's images are powerful
and once again help us come to terms with our fleeting human existence. We
empathize and become connected to these people.
In all of her art Jean Edelstein continues to express the fabric of our
existence. Her search for self has resulted in the discovery of a strong
spiritual identity. She offers a viable alternative to the angst of
contemporary art and presents us with images that uphold a timeless but
often ignored value: there is beauty in truth.
Jean Edelstein will also present videos of her performances at L.A. Artcore
on Sunday, February 18th, from 2-4pm. These videos highlight performances
in which Edelstein collaborated with dancers and musicians while creating a
large scale mural before an audience.