Andrew Edlin Gallery is pleased to present April 14, 1561, a group exhibition of works by artists inspired by UFOs (unidentified flying objects). The title of this exhibition refers to the date of an early reported UFO sighting in Nuremberg, Germany.
The featured artists, Ionel Talpazan, Karla Knight, Paulina Peavy, and Esther Pearl Watson offer distinct perspectives on visitation from outer space and employ various approaches in their treatment of the subject.
Ionel Talpazan (1955-2015) is perhaps the most well known of all artists inspired by this phenomenon. His work was sparked by his own memories of a UFO sighting as a young boy in his native Romania. He rendered his UFOs in various guises, some adhering to an illustrational realism, while others were abstract and elaborately patterned like mandalas. His work is included in numerous museum collections, among them the American Folk Art Museum (New York), the Collection de l'Art Brut (Lausanne), the American Visionary Art Museum (Baltimore), the Museum of Everything (London), and the Collection abcd (Paris). In 2013, his art was featured in “Alternative Guide to the Universe” at the Hayward Gallery (London). A memorial exhibition of his work was held at the Outsider Art Fair in New York in 2016. Talpazan also appeared in the BBC documentary, “Turning the Art World Inside Out” (2013), at one point telling the interviewer, “The artist is like an astronaut . . . With the mind, you can travel the entire universe!”
Karla Knight’s (b. 1958, New York) pencil-on-paper drawings, which she refers to as “spaceships,” resemble schematic diagrams interspersed with letters from a made-up language, an alphabet beyond Earthly understanding. As with Talpazan, the idea for Knight’s spaceships goes back to her childhood. “Half of my family was really into weird stuff, séances and Ouija boards. My father was a writer and wrote about UFOs and ESP.” Knight currently lives and works in Connecticut. She received her BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1980 and her art has been widely exhibited in solo and group exhibitions. She is represented in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Brooklyn Museum and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), among others. She has been the recipient of multiple awards and residencies, including at the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo Corporation.
The paintings of Esther Pearl Watson (b. 1973, Frankfurt, Germany) depict the life and adventures of her family, notably her father, Gene, who continuously attempted to build a working flyer saucer which he believed he could then sell to NASA or Ross Perot. In her paintings, glittering flying saucers hover above thenarrative scenes below. Watson received her MFA in 2012 from the California Institute of the Arts and a BFA in 1995 from the Art Center College of Design. Recent exhibitions include solo shows at Suzanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Project, W+K Gallery (Portland, Oregon), and Webb Gallery (Waxahachie, TX). She currently teaches at the Pasadena Art Center College of Design in California.
Paulina Peavy(1901-1999) had her first encounter with Lacamo, a UFO, at age 31, during a séance in Long Beach, California. Guided by her “spirit muse,” Peavy developed a radical cosmology, believing humankind would evolve towards a single-sex species through contact with alien beings. She was committed to promoting her eccentric worldview through drawing, painting, sculpture, text and film. Her abstract works on paper and paintings, in particular, depict her visual cosmos, in which organic shapes resemble procreative organs. A university-trained artist, Peavy held various jobs, including high school art teacher, naval architectural draftsman, electrical engineering draftsman, and mural painter. Her art was displayed in many venues, including the San Diego Museum, the Civic Center Museum of San Francisco, Stanford University Gallery, and Stendhal Gallery (Los Angeles) and most notably a fourteen-foot mural painted for the 1938 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco.