The Origin of Nymphs
Lyons Wier Gallery is pleased to present The Origin of Nymphs, by New York based artist Jeff Muhs.
With The Origin of Nymphs, Muhs builds upon his ongoing series of paintings, Another History. The artist cites that through his constant study of art history, he became very interested in certain iconic images that have sustained their compositional and communicative prominence throughout the ages. In particular, the intangible characteristics that enable some works of art to transcend generations and time and become a part of our current collective culture and art historical lexicon.
In approaching great works from the Renaissance to Romanticism, one is confronted by the true mastery of image making and artistic prowess. It was while visiting the Louvre and standing in front of La Grande Odalisque (Jean-Auguste Dominique Ingres, 1814) that Muhs began to contemplate the profundity of the enduring image. As a classically trained artist, Muhs was drawn to the draftsmanship and deftness of these Masters and was awestruck by it contributions to, and its negation from, art in the later half of the 20th century.
Thus inspired, Muhs’ began a quest to truly understand his painting in an artistic, psychological, and cultural sense. He began to break down his painting into its basic elements and its relation to the stylized female form. He studied La Grande Odalisque, her expression and stature, and how she related to the culture of her time and ours. All in an effort to distill the magical quality that this work of art has carried throughout time.
This led Muhs to a process of deeper study, to the deconstruction and rearrangement of other iconic images from art history. Via the appropriation of world-renowned iconic images such as Napoleon I on his Imperial Throne (after Ingres) and Venus and Cupid (after Pellegrini), his new works carry some of the inherent power of the originals. Understanding this and combining it with new artistic elements, Muhs has created a contemporary body of work that moves the audience from a cultural and art historical reference to our present and societal zeitgeist. Muhs’ new series is empowered by these masterful qualities and contextualizes his artistic vision for our time.
Born in Southampton, NY, Jeff Muhs came to art by way of his father, a sculptor and third generation hunting and fishing guide. Muhs’ rearing along the barrier beach of Long Island’s south shore instilled in him an intimate knowledge of nature that would later become an integral part in Muhs’ art making. Muhs attended and completed his BFA from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 1988. Jeff Muhs’ work can be found in several private and public collections, namely Beth Rudin DeWoody, Guild Hall Museum, Caesars Palace Las Vegas, Ronald Lauder, Cantor Fitzgerald, Time Warner, Inc., Los Angeles County Museum, Hunter Museum, and Ward Museum, among others. His studio is located in Southampton, NY.