Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Studio Visit with Samuel T Adams
I've been hanging out over at my friend Samuel T. Adams's studio lately, drinking Sam Adams beer and talking about painting. His studio is Bushwick, in a building that has housed and houses many friends of mine, on Grattan Street. Sam is preparing for his upcoming show in May at Priska C Juschka Fine Art, a fantastic gallery on 27th st. with a great roster of artists you should look at: http://www.priskajuschkafineart.com/
It seems that in New York these days minimal abstraction is all the rage. Sam takes the opposite approach, and its very refreshing. These paintings are luscious, worked, and layered. At first glance there is a haphazard chaotic look, but on closer inspection you see that these paintings are extremely carefully considered and executed. The abstraction is not just painted, but collaged. Many styles and approaches are layered and put side by side.
Sam has taken the lessons of early abstraction and brought them into a contemporary realm. He has obviously studied Arshile Gorky- but its like Gorky seen through a filter of fluorescent graffiti, 60's pop art, and oddly enough, old Disney movies. He continues the traditions of abstraction that Gorky perfected, but draws heavily on poppy phenomena that are specifically of our generation, things that are burned into our brains weather we like it or not. To that end, there is also an element of deconstruction here, like a pop cartoon being flushed down the toilet, or erased, or scrambled. Possibly a need to destroy these images that have been forced onto us since we were children.
Each squiggle and bush stroke is gone back into, accentuated, solidified, and reconsidered. Sue Williams also comes to mind. There is a great tension between the painterly and graphic sensibilities here. It's a very hard line to toe, but Sam is definitely doing it well. There are so many fantastic moments in these, you can look at them for so long and always see something new, something fresh and interesting you hadn't noticed before. I also look at these works in relation to landscape and city scape. Looking at his view of Brooklyn from his studio window, the work makes much sense. The work is still situated in a sort of land meets sky configuration.
Finally, the color is startling. And there is so much of it- he uses color fearlessly but keeps it under control, like de Kooning. Again, seeing painting like this is very refreshing for me, and Sam's show at Priska Juschka this spring will be a breath of fresh air for New York as well. Keep an eye out for it. Here is Sam's website: http://samueltadams.net/home.html