Los Enigmas
February 6 – March 5, 2016
Gallery One

Exhibition Text


ANDREW RAFACZ is pleased to announce Los Enigmas, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Jessie Edelman in Gallery One.

Chicago, IL, January 30, 2016- ANDREW RAFACZ opens 2016 with Los Enigmas, a solo exhibition of new paintings by Jessie Edelman in Gallery One. The exhibition continues through Saturday, March 5, 2016.

With her new series of paintings, Edelman continues her narrative of lone female figures gazing out on vibrantly colored and richly detailed seascapes. Although not easily identified as a known location, each painting’s details are unique and imply a lived-in, cinematic place. These natural spaces are directly tuned to the figure’s contemplation. Turned away and facing into the painting’s environment, the positioning of the figure implicates the viewer as voyeur into her solitary world, functioning as a filter onto their shared field of vision while denying access to her gaze and psychology. We cannot see her face, so we cannot gauge her state of being. This mirroring effect also reminds the viewer of his or her role as seer and the presence of the painting as an object. Edelman is not afraid to present these scenes as unabashedly nostalgic or archetypical. For the artist, the potential for allusion within the painting’s pictorial plane is essential for the viewer. They seduce us by simultaneously placing us within the painting’s action and on the periphery of its frame.

Edelman’s painting-within-a-painting trope is sublimely pushed forward and even disrupted in her newest body of work. In her earlier paintings, the figure is situated outside the seascape but within the composition, as if looking out of a window. They are posed in leisurely positions and engaged in the pure act of looking. Although we don’t know if they are deeply engaged or daydreaming, nor what they might be thinking, we do know they are disciplined in doing so. In these works, the figures’ relationship to the background is purely psychological and open to interpretation. In several of the paintings in her new exhibition, the figures are physically interacting with the painting’s world. They are grasping branches or stepping through a thicket of trees as if responding to their earlier state of looking and contemplation.

The title of Edelman’s exhibition, Los Engimas, is taken from the Pablo Neruda poem of the same name.

A cautionary tale about our impulse to understand and quantify the natural world, the poet reflects on how human interpretation ultimately falls short of answering nature and in the very attempt, risks reducing the infinite to nothing. By placing her figures within this seaside landscape, Edelman reinforces the natural world as mysterious and hermetic. By employing distance and depriving the viewer of more concrete information, she articulates these concerns for both her characters and the viewer caught in their compelling act.

JESSIE EDELMAN (American, b. 1986) lives and works in New York. She received her MFA from the Yale School of Art in 2013. She had a recent solo exhibition, Day Gazer, at Robert Blumenthal Gallery, New York, NY (2015) and she has an upcoming two-person exhibition at The Suburban, Milwaukee, WI, in March 2016 and solo exhibition at Denny Gallery, New York, NY in October 2016. Recent group exhibitions include PRTY PPL, curated by Josh Reames, at Circuit 12, Houston, TX (2015) and The Landscape Changes 30 Times, Anahita Art Gallery, Tehran, Iran (2015). She is currently in a group show, Avoir Une Peur Bleue, at Bahamas Biennale, Detroit, MI. She was included in Untitled., Miami, FL (2015) with Andrew Rafacz, and will be part of the forthcoming Art Brussels (April 2016), with Johannes Vogt Gallery. This is her first solo exhibition with the gallery.