Photos by Sarah Bloom










Deus Ex MaChina

Best known for creating a 39-panel mural out of bed sheets while serving a six-year prison sentence, Philadelphia-based artist Jesse Krimes’ Deus ex Machina, presented an exhibition of new work at the Leonard Pearlstein Gallery, Drexel University.

Deus ex Machina explores the hidden mechanics of power using ordinary objects and found materials transformed into precariously balanced systems. “Deus ex Machina,” or “God from the Machine,” is an artistic storytelling device used to resolve an impossible situation. In this case, Krimes draws on his own history of incarceration to explore societal hierarchies and systems through the lens of confinement. Using man-made and natural systems of containment such as birdcages and beehives, Krimes plays with shifting sightlines to create disorienting experiences that reference authoritarian institutions. The installations are designed to play off of the modernist white cube and exposed architectural elements of the gallery.

The exhibition is being curated by Julie Courtney, an independent curator from Philadelphia.

This exhibition marks Krimes' first solo show of new work since serving his prison sentence.

Krimes’ work investigates the human condition to disentangle complex value systems and hierarchies, much like the work of a contemporary sociologist. His most recent installation was featured at Amnesty International’s Art4Rights exhibition in New Orleans. Purgatory was included in the exhibition Le bord des mondes at Palais de Tokyo in Paris.

Krimes' vast multi-panel work Apokaluptein:16389067 debuted at the Zimmerli Museum, Rutgers University. A poetry project, Apocrypha:16389067, is published in The New School’s LIT Journal. He has presented at various venues, most recently at TEDx Philadelphia and Amnesty International's general assembly and re-launch of Art for Amnesty in New York. Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site currently features Apokaluptein:16389067:II in its 2015 contemporary art installation program.

Jesse Krimes was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, in 1982. In 2009, Krimes was indicted by the U.S. government on non-violent drug charges and sentenced to a 70-month prison term. While incarcerated, he produced numerous bodies of work, established art programs, and worked collaboratively with his fellow inmates. After completing his sentence, he moved to Philadelphia, where he currently lives and works. For more information, visit www.jessekrimes.com.