The Birth of Flowers
A Solo Show by Marisa Adesman
August 19 – October 29, 2023
Vernissage - an exhibition launch party: Friday, August 18, 2023, 5:30 - 8:00 pm
Artist Talk: Friday, August 18. 2023, 6:00 pm
Photographs coming soon.
Marisa Adesman’s delicately crafted, sensual, dreamlike paintings are typically located within the spheres of domesticity. Unsettling our sense of interior space, memory, and time, she composes tableware, candles, houseplants, flowers, linens, kitchen utensils, and furniture into strange and unusual arrangements that destabilize our notions about the proper order of house and home. Her settings often center around the female form and are guided by her own visionary poetics of interior space. She examines the art historical meaning of the female figure as a pliable body designed for amorous desire and protection, but also sinister and capable of deception and corruption.
The title of the exhibition shares its name with a magic trick from the book Magic: Stage Illusions and Scientific Diversions, Including Trick Photography published in 1897. Using the visual language of old-time magic, Adesman depicts her households loaded with trap doors, pulleys, hidden pathways, gravity defying displays, and gestures towards invisibility. Even her use of trompe-l'œil, an illusionistic form of painting that literally translates from French as “deceives the eye,” is a nod to vintage forms of creative trickery, deception, and awe. From an interest in magic comes a connection to occult traditions and a preoccupation with ceremony, and suspense. She communes with a particular form of magic that held the imagination of Victorian era audiences who were known to have their own peculiar propensity for the macabre.
As she mingles the ethereal and phantasmagoric imaginary of the surrealist period with the Dutch still life and vanitas paintings from 16th and 17th century Europe, Adesman likewise retains all the attendant technical mastery that defined those artistic styles. Her smooth, luminous surfaces, combined with a masterful use of chiaroscuro, the skillful contrasting of extreme light and dark, reveals the hand of a remarkably detailed painter whose work demands to be viewed in person.
Exploring the ways that our emotional, spatial, and gendered relationships with familiar spaces are interpreted within our subconscious minds, Adesman focuses on domains of control where women could traditionally wield the most power and that have developed a particular association with femininity. She uses the decorative nature and functional qualities of dining rooms, kitchens, gardens, private parlors, and patios to create metaphysical realms where the unseen inner forces of desire, longing, disruption, and withdrawal are exposed. Beneath her brush, domestic functions become a spectacle of mystery and enchantment.
Her images are uncanny and often capture a sense of unease, with the female body made to appear as both flesh and glass and set into various states of vulnerability and contortion. Her scenarios could be taken for wild fever (or Covid 19) dreams when we are confined, stuck inside and our imaginations turn to our only connection to the natural world, the surrounding yard. For Adesman, however, the realms of home interiors and floral design become a site for exploration on how the dexterity and multitasking ease that women have been known to perform around the home can seem like a magical act, with cooking, cleaning, decorating, childcare, and self-maintenance all happening at once. It is a scenario that occurs daily around the world, a bewitching sequence of tasks that often goes unnoticed and unpaid. Adesman interweaves the often highly regulated performance of womanhood with the equally ordered actions of a magical illusion.
Marisa Adesman (b. 1991, Roslyn, NY) currently lives and works in St. Louis, MO. She received her BFA from Washington University in St. Louis and graduated from Rhode Island School of Design’s MFA program with an emphasis in painting. Adesman also attended the Yale Norfolk School of Art. Adesman has had solo presentations of her work at Anat Ebgi Gallery, Los Angeles, CA and EXPO Chicago. She has also been included in group exhibitions at Mrs. Gallery, Maspeth, NY; Nino Meir Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; WOAW Gallery, Hong Kong, China; and Public Gallery, London, UK. Her work has been featured in multiple publications including Juxtapoz Magazine; New American Paintings; ArtMaze Magazine; and Flaunt Magazine.
Out from Under, 2023
Oil on canvas 42” x 62”
EXHIBITION SUPPORT BY