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"JEAN EDELSTEIN, A Retrospective, 1980-2000"
2001-02-02 until 2001-02-28
L.A. Artcore at Union Center for the Arts
Los Angeles, CA, USA United States of America

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 with others.

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.

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