Keith Edmier

Mother Mold

September 6 - November 4, 2017

Opening Reception: Wednesday, September 6th, 6–8pm

35 E 67th Street



Petzel Gallery is pleased to announce Mother Mold, a survey exhibition of sculpture by Keith Edmier. Ranging from Edmier’s earliest works, such as I Met a Girl Who Sang the Blues (1991) through Imagines (2017), Mother Mold presents a selected overview of Edmier’s work from the past twenty-six years. This will be the artist’s sixth solo exhibition at the gallery and his first in our Upper East Side location. The exhibition is accompanied by a publication that details his most recent installation, Imagines, a set of fifty life-cast portraits hung throughout the gallery space.

The title of the exhibition ‘mother mold’ is a term related to the process of mold making. Physically, it is essentially a hard shell, traditionally made of plaster. The shell supports a flexible rubber mold that helps the negative impression retain its shape during the casting process. The shell is a perimeter—an encasement for the transformation of material from liquid to solid and in composition, from abstraction to mimesis.

The majority of Edmier’s work from the past twenty years plus have been made through mold-making and casting a variation of industrial materials: plaster, aluminum, dental acrylic, plastic, glass, resin, polyurethane, basalt. Edmier has employed non-traditional materials that purposely interfere with each sculpture’s verisimilitude. Throughout his career, the artist has continued to mold his personal narrative into universal subjects that further transform the objects, solidifying themes of autobiography, eroticism and mortality.

Two of the earliest works in the exhibition mines Edmier’s childhood. Piano Legs I–III (1992/3) is a set of dissembled golden-yellow piano legs cast directly from a baby grand. The fabricated legs are gnawed away like a tooth-worn No. 2 pencil. The objects had been conjured through a “screen memory” that partially recalls at age three in 1970, tearing apart a gift of a toy baby grand given to him by his father. I Met a Girl Who Sang the Blues (1991), is an oil painting that composites a portrait of the young artist as a child with Janis Joplin. Both portraits are from 1970—Edmier in his striped Halloween tiger costume and the smiling singer the year of her drug overdose and death. Thirty-one years later, the artist would be working in collaboration with the actress Farrah Fawcett. The artistic collaboration upends the role of model and muse, memorialized in an intimate portrait of their hands intertwined entitled Untitled (Hands) (2000), finished in carved alabaster.

One can read both muse and matriarch into the phrase ‘mother mold’ as well as conception, pregnancy and birth. In the case of the Annunciation Lilies (2013), Edmier has sculpturally appropriated the lilies and vases from specific Renaissance Annunciation paintings. The ubiquitous flowers cast in pale dental acrylic and polyurethane traditionally act as a gate between the Mary and angel, symbolically standing for the mother’s virginity. Central to the exhibition is Edmier’s sculpture Beverly Edmier, 1967 (1998). Cast in candy-like pink translucent resin, Beverly Edmier is a life-sized sculpture of the artist’s mother as she was at twenty-two years old and nine months pregnant with the artist. Caressing her womb with her right hand, she gazes down at her belly in an intimate early exchange between mother and son. The botanical sculpture Fireweed (2002/3) is an act of biological renewal. The plant, Chamaenerion Angustifolium, is known to be the first to grow after a forest fire, or in this case a volcanic eruption. The delicately cast acrylic leaves and flowers are lightly dusted with volcanic ash from the Mount St. Helen’s eruption in 1980, the same year of the artist’s burgeoning adolescence.

The installation Edmier imagines (2017) is fifty life-cast portraits displayed like the ancient Roman masks known by the same title. One portrait is hung for every year in the artist’s life, with four self-portraits of the artist at different ages. The Roman Imagines were masks life cast of the family passed down through generations. Edmier’s cast portraits connect in familial ways: they portray the artist’s family, friends, heroes and influences. Yet, rather than masks of the dead worn by the living, Edmier’s plaster cast portraits stem from the artist’s years in the Hollywood special effects industry. The connection to Hollywood turns the permanence and memorial of the mask into a starting point for transformation to come. Michael Jackson becomes a teenage werewolf, Jeff Goldblum—The Fly, David Bowie—a New Wave vampire, and Matthew Barney—a well-groomed Satyr. As in all of Edmier’s work, one can find familiar identities and structures reshaped and transformed.

Keith Edmier was born in Chicago, Illinois. His work has been shown throughout the United States and internationally. He has been the recipient of survey exhibitions at the Frans Hals Museum in Haarlem, the Netherlands (2012) and CCS Bard Hessel Museum, Annandale-on-Hudson (2007). He has held solo exhibitions at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh (2003) and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (2002). His work was featured in the 2002 Whitney Biennial and in group exhibitions at the Sculpture Center in New York (2013), the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis (2012), Kunstwerke in Berlin (2007), Tate Modern in London (2007), Tate Liverpool (2005), Museum of Contemporary Art in Rome (2007), Kunsthalle Vienna (2004), and Migros Museum in Zurich (2004). His work are in the permanent collections of major museums such as the Tate Gallery, London; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; The Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; and the Israel Museum, among others. He is the recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation 2001 Biennial Award.

Petzel Gallery is located on the third floor of 35 East 67th Street between Madison and Park Avenues, New York City. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 AM–6:00 PM.

For press inquires, please contact Janine Latham at janine@petzel.com, or call (212) 680-9467.


Download Press Release (PDF 108 K)


  • 1 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Beverly Edmier, Teacher/Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    11 x 6.5 x 6 inches
  • 2 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Tom Edmier, People Coach)
    2017
    Plaster
    11.5 x 4.5 x 4.5 inches
  • 3 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Keith Edmier, Age 13)
    2017
    Plaster
    11.5 x 4.25 x 4.5 inches
  • 4 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Dick Smith, Special Make-Up Effects Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    13 x 7 x 7 inches
  • 5 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Linda Blair, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    9 x 4 x 3.75 inches
  • 6 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Alfred Hitchcock, Director)
    2017
    Plaster
    11.25 x 6.5 x 7.25 inches
  • 7 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Rick Baker, Special Make-Up Effects Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    11.5 x 5.5 x 6.25 inches
  • 8 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Michael Jackson (Thriller), Musician)
    2017
    Plaster
    8.25 x 5.25 x 4.5 inches
  • 9 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Michael Jackson (Captain EO, Musician)
    2017
    Plaster
    12.25 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches
  • 10 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Clint Eastwood, Actor/Director/Producer)
    2017
    Plaster
    12.5 x 7.5 x 7 inches
  • 11 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Jeff Goldblum, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    11.5 x 7 x 7 inches
  • 12 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Geena Davis, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    10 x 5.5 x 4.75 inches
  • 13 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Greg Cannom, Special Make-Up Effects Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    13.25 x 7.25 x 6.5 inches
  • 14 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Kiefer Sutherland, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    13.25 x 6 x 7.25 inches
  • 15 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Brooke McCarter, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    12.5 x 5 x 6.75 inches
  • 16 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Robert Englund, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    13.5 x 7.25 x 8 inches
  • 17 / 57
    Edmier imagines (John Candy, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    10.75 x 6 x 4.25 inches
  • 18 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Brian Thompson, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    13 x 6.5 x 6.5 inches
  • 19 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Chuck Connors, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    14 x 5.5 x 3.75 inches
  • 20 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Paul Reubens, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    12.25 x 7 x 7.25 inches
  • 21 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Michael J. Fox, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    9 x 5 x 4 inches
  • 22 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Jean-Claude Van Damme, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    12.25 x 7 x 7.5 inches
  • 23 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Mel Gibson, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    13.5 x 7.75 x 7 inches
  • 24 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Paul Newman, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    10.25 x 7 x 7 inches
  • 25 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Keanu Reeves, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    11 x 7.75 x 6 inches
  • 26 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Ice Cube, Musician/Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    9.5 x 6 x 4.75 inches
  • 27 / 57
    Edmier imagines (John Goodman, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    12.75 x 7 x 6.5 inches
  • 28 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Lance Henriksen, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    12.5 x 8 x 6.5 inches
  • 29 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Angus Scrimm, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    11.5 x 6 x 5.25 inches
  • 30 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Matthew Barney, Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    11 x 5 x 5 inches
  • 31 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Abraham Lincoln (1860), President)
    2017
    Plaster
    9.5 x 8 x 5.25 inches
  • 32 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Abraham Lincoln (1865), President)
    2017
    Plaster
    11 x 9 x 6.5 inches
  • 33 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Henry Winkler, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    9.75 x 5 x 5 inches
  • 34 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Farrah Fawcett (1970s), Actor/Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    13 x 7 x 5.5 inches
  • 35 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Farrah Fawcett (2000), Actor/Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    10 x 7 x 4.5 inches
  • 36 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Keith Edmier (Age 30), Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    9.75 x 5.5 x 5 inches
  • 37 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Rodney Dangerfield, Actor/Comedian)
    2017
    Plaster
    10.25 x 5.5 x 4.25 inches
  • 38 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Leonard Nimoy, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    11.75 x 6 x 5 inches
  • 39 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Charlie Sheen, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    13 x 5 x 5 inches
  • 40 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Paris Forino, Interior Designer)
    2017
    Plaster
    9.75 x 5.5 x 4.75 inches
  • 41 / 57
    Edmier imagines (David Bowie, Musician/Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    12.5 x 6.5 x 6 inches
  • 42 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Jeff Bridges, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    12 x 5.5 x 5 inches
  • 43 / 57
    Edmier imagines (John Keats, Poet)
    2017
    Plaster
    9.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches
  • 44 / 57
    Edmier imagines (John Buffalo Mailer, Actor/Writer/Director)
    2017
    Plaster
    11.5 x 5.5 x 5.25 inches
  • 45 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Grace Kelly, Actor/Princess)
    2017
    Plaster
    12.25 x 6 x 6.25 inches
  • 46 / 57
    Edmier imagines (George Washington, President)
    2017
    Plaster
    9 x 5.5 x 3.5 inches
  • 47 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Kevin Bacon, Actor)
    2017
    Plaster
    11.25 x 7 x 5.5 inches
  • 48 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Keith Edmier (Age 48), Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    10.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches
  • 49 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Barack Obama, President)
    2017
    Plaster
    10.5 x 8 x 6 inches
  • 50 / 57
    Edmier imagines (Keith Edmier (Age 50), Artist)
    2017
    Plaster
    10.5 x 5.5 x 5.5 inches
  • 51 / 57
    Beverly Edmier, 1967
    1998
    Cast urethane resin, cast acrylic resin, silicone, acrylic , silk, wool, and Lycra fabric
    50.75 x 31.5 x 22.5 inches
  • 52 / 57
    Annunciation Lilies XI (Fra Filippo Lippi, c.1455-60)
    2013
    Dental acrylic, polyurethane, acrylic paint, majolica, limestone
    34.7 x 23.6 x 23.6 inches
  • 53 / 57
    Fireweed
    2002-2003
    Vinyl, co-polyester, vinyl monofilament, dental acrylic, paper, oil and acrylic paint, volcanic ash over steel armature
    72 x 15 inches
  • 54 / 57
    Keith Edmier and Farrah Fawcett
    The Space Between You and Me
    2000-01
    Digital Cibachrome
    7.5 x 10.75 inches
  • 55 / 57
    Keith Edmier and Farrah Fawcett
    Untitled (Hands)
    2000
    Alabaster, wood pedestal
    14 x 7 x 6.75 inches
  • 56 / 57
    I Met a Girl Who Sang the Blues
    1991
    Oil on canvas
    20 x 16 inches
  • 57 / 57
    Piano Legs I-III
    1992-93
    Rigid urethane and polyurethane enamel
    23.5 x 19.5 x 4.5 inches (each)
Related Materials

Keith Edmier

Mother Mold

View More

Keith Edmier Mother Mold, brings together the 50 unique life-cast portraits of the artist’s work, Imagines; inspired by ancient Roman life-casts of the same name. Stemming from his years in Hollywood working as a special effects make-up artist, Edmier’s cast portraits connect in intimate ways: they portray the artist’s family, friends, heroes, and influences. The connection to Hollywood turns the permanence and memorial of the life mask into a starting point for the transformation to come. Michael Jackson--becomes a teenage werewolf, Jeff Goldblum-- The Fly, David Bowie--a New Wave vampire, and Matthew Barney--a well-groomed Satyr. As in all of Edmier’s work, one can find familiar identities and structures reshaped and transformed.

Each life-cast portrait is presented as a postcard; the reverse of which, written in Edmier’s own hand, provides interesting details about the individual casts. The set of postcards is presented in a hard-back ‘stone’ box-envelop, with white debossed text.

Keith Edmier Mother Mold was created on the occasion of Edmier’s sixth solo show at Petzel, September 6th-November 4th, 2017.


Published by Petzel, New York.

© 2017 Petzel and Keith Edmier

ISBN: 978-0-9988381-1-3
8.25 x 6 inches, boxed
50 pages






Keith Edmier

Regeneratrix

View More

This catalogue was published on the occasion of the exhibition Regeneratrix, at Petzel, New York, May 9 - June 20, 2015

Features the essay: "Keith Edmier-The Wonderland of Memory" by Norman Rosenthal

Published by Petzel, New York

© 2015 Petzel and Keith Edmier

ISBN 978-0-9863230-2-7

Keith Edmier

Keith Edmier 1991-2007

View More

This catalogue was published on the occasion of the exhibition Keith Edmier 1991-2007, at the Center for Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudosn, New York, October 20, 2007 - February 3, 2008

The publication presents the following essays:

"Ecce Homo" by Tom Eccles
"Chicagoland" by Douglas Fogle
"Tinley Park to Tinsel Town: 1974-1990" by Jade Dellinger
"Matthew Barney talks to Keith Edmier"
"In Search of Lost Time" by Caoimhin Mac Giolla Leith

Published by Booth-Clibborn Editions, London

© 2007 Center or Curatorial Studies, Bard College, Booth-Clibborn Editions and Keith Edmier

ISBN: 978-1-86154-303-5

Keith Edmier

Keith Edmier and Farrah Fawcett: Recasting Pygmalion

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In August 2000, after Edmier extended a formal invitation to the actress to join him in making a work of art, Edmier and Fawcett began what would become a two-year collaboration which produced several sculptures (including two large-scale nude sculptures of each other) and numerous photographs and drawings. The results of this extraordinary project are chronicled in this volume.

This publication contains the following essays:
"From Art to Production" by Yvonne Force and Doreen Remen
"Recasting Pygmalion; Rethinking the Muse" by Lynn Zelevansky

Published by Rizzoli International Publications, Inc., New York

© 2002 Keith Edmier and Farrah Fawcett

ISBN 0-8478-2440-3