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Stellar Games

Marcel Jean

November 10th, 2016 – January 14th, 2017

Gallery Wendi Norris is pleased to present Stellar Games, a debut solo exhibition of the distinguished work of Surrealist French artist and scholar Marcel Jean (1900-1993). Stellar Games presents a rare collection of 15 intimate gouache, ink and flottage paintings on masonite and 11 India ink, graphite and gouache drawings on paper produced between the years 1939-1975. Holding a preeminent position amongst Surrealist scholars and artists, Marcel Jean was an explorer of the psyche and a pioneer of the imagination whose works convey narratives of psychic spaces and transformative landscapes. Objects, landscapes and figures flow between layers of symbolic, sexual and subconscious meaning. The motif of a head, bound, affected or abstracted, which the artist used to great success in his earlier work The Spectre of Gardenia (1936), returns in some of these later paintings, alluding to the way dreams can disrupt the seat of consciousness. Jean’s pioneering use of the flottage technique remains unique amongst artists, and explores chance operation while advancing the Surrealist practice of the automatic painting. These intimate and complex works demonstrate the artist’s inextinguishable creativity in the creation of psychological dreamscapes and the founding of delicate, impossible worlds.

Marcel Jean (1900-1993) studied at the École Nationale des Arts Décoratifs in Paris before becoming a central figure of the Surrealist group in Paris in 1932. In 1936, he participated in the exhibition Fantastic Art, Dada and Surrealism, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, and soon after fled France for Budapest, Hungary, where he stayed until the end of World War II. His work was exhibited in the 1947’s Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme at Galerie Maeght and he continued to exhibit as an active member of the Surrealist group in all of the major International Surrealism exhibitions throughout the history of the movement. These exhibitions include the Exposition Internationale du Surréalisme at Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Brussels, London, New York, Tokyo, Paris, and Amsterdam. In addition to these group exhibitions Jean exhibited in a succession of solo shows around the globe expanding his practice to additionally include works in collage, drawing and sculpture. His most widely known work Spectre du Gardenia is on permanent display in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Jean was also a preeminent scholar and prolific writer. His many published works include the definitive text The History of Surrealist Painting (Paris, 1959; New York, Grove Press), and the Autobiography of Surrealism (New York, 1980; Viking Press), an anthology of Surrealist writings. His work is held in major public collections including The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA, and the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL, among others and has recently experienced a resurgence in interest with exhibitions throughout New York and San Francisco, including in the 2012 MoMA exhibition Exquisite Corpses: Drawing and Disfiguration.

Earlier Event: November 10
Later Event: January 18
Subverting Solidity