Peter Edlund is a painter who uses a split canvas technique to juxtapose contemporary and ancient views of the same landscape. One of his latest works, Hilly-Island-in Wolf Country, is on view through November 29th at Wave Hill’s Glyndor Gallery in an exhibition entitled, The Muhheakantuck in Focus. Edlund presents a simultaneous view of lower Manhattan island near Trinity Wall Street and the same area as a pristine wilderness before Henry Hudson’s arrival in 1609. The title of the painting is derived from the original Lenape Indian name for the place: “hilly island.”
For this exhibition, senior curator Jennifer McGregor chose artists whose work explores the importance of the Hudson River to native peoples before and after the arrival of European settlers (Muhheakantuck is Lenape for “the river that flows both ways”). Edlund’s work is about more than the name of a place. His historical juxtaposition raises difficult questions about the political and military power dynamics that brought the island under European control, eventually displacing the native population.