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Deus ex Machina

January 11, 2016

Philadelphia-based artist Jesse Krimes transforms ordinary objects and found materials to explore social hierarchies and the hidden mechanics of power. His new site-specific work, Deus ex Machina (“god from the machine”), draws on his experience of incarceration and uses man-made and natural systems of containment, such as birdcages and beehives, to investigate ideas of authoritarian institutions and systems of connection and time. The exhibition will open on Tuesday, January 12 in the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery (3401 Filbert Street), with a reception and artist’s talk on Thursday, January 14, from 5:00pm to 7:00pm in the gallery. During his 6-year prison term, Krimes developed an approach focused on the exploration of social systems through the lens of confinement. In addition to maintaining an active studio practice and producing several bodies of work, he established prison drawing, painting, and independent study studio art programs and worked collaboratively with his fellow inmates.

Krimes creates an interdependent “nervous system” in Deus ex Machina, using architectural materials and large, monochromatic paintings that mark time through a repetitive transfer process, resulting in a topographical surface that shows the effects of the artist’s daily labor.

Krimes’ most recent installations were featured at Amnesty International’s Art4Rights exhibition in New Orleans and in the exhibition Le bord des mondes at Palais de Tokyo in Paris. His vast multi-panel work, Apokaluptein:16389067, debuted at the Zimmerli Museum at Rutgers University and is currently featured in Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary contemporary art installation program. Krimes has presented at various venues including TEDx Philadelphia and Amnesty International's general assembly and re-launch of Art for Amnesty in New York.

Deus ex Machina will run through March 18 in the Pearlstein Gallery.