We are pleased to announce an exhibition of works by Canadian artist Michael Adamson at Moore Gallery, 80 Spadina Avenue, Suite 404, in Toronto. The exhibition will open at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 14th, 2012
Michael Adamson: Sticks and Diamonds – Fables of the Pleistocene
A period of unprecedented natural catastrophes and human disasters, the Pleistocene was host to biological and terrestrial dramas, perhaps yet unrivalled. Cataclysmic chaos’s great ascent was rivaled only by the spectacular expansion of human or hominoid evolution and consciousness. Life’s absolute cauldron, this period is typified by a dual nature, a double minded earth, halves so interdependent that they might be doomed lovers, unable to exist without each other. It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. Sound familiar? These are fables of the Pleistocene now.
I am a painter of history, in a science fiction kind of way. For this collection of paintings, I have imagined backwards in time, I have entertained a mid century sensibility, exposing a proclivity towards the expressive in an abstract fashion. To create a context, I have then envisioned a futuristic imagining of a formal abstraction from the near future. The two forms, The Sticks, and the Diamonds have lent their conjoined name to the exhibition as the title.
The Sticks, which can represent the classic modern mid century painterly impulse can be, interpreted a both an emblem of our Canadian tradition of resource capitalization, as typified by the lumber industry, hence “sticks”. I find it is also evocative of the great heroic paintings of tragic and glorious men, like Jean Paul Riopelle and Jackson Pollock. The motif can be also viewed in mind of the common expression, “The Carrot and the Stick” as relating to the control of brute beasts of burden for the profit of rational man. What is the industrial age version, and what are the information age’s version of this classic punishment and reward concept. Key elements of science fiction, especially its speculative and hopeful, in that suggests a future, as well as the feature of the outsider as protagonist, bind affectionately to my creative outlook.
The Diamonds, which may appear as painted scenery from a science fiction play, are emblematic of contemporary visions of the present and future derived from a synthetic approach to our immediate past. A tinge of counter culture in their kaleidoscopic appearance, there is a geometry of essential structure which is the early 21st century pet shaping, if the block and squares were iconic shape of the classical mid-century. The diamond group can also be experienced as a nod to a new shiny facet our resource identity, miners of arctic diamonds, while oil painting for me has always been related to the oil age, now and compressed carbon, life, diamonds. Multi-faceted diamond forms can be seen as alluding again to the carrot and the stick method, diamonds being an inverted metaphor for the carrot. Presented as a great reward for a job well done as well as a symbol of commitment to a successful future, the diamond is culturally significant as it is popularly envisioned. The time and pressure required for its formation make the diamond’s sparkle echo a vision of connubial bliss in the age of anxiety.
The painterly references in this body of the work range from first generation abstractionists up to Jasper Johns and recent contemporaries, like Jim Lambie and to some extent, the futuristic metal works of Frank Stella. In the immediate context there are influences of current painters, there is a smidge of the fine yond American painter Tomory Dodge, in its crude purpose, and a sleight echo of the Canadian painter Ric Evans in their hopefully stoic, yet warm and organic geometry.
While some artists are keen to promote the concentrated nature of their process, suggesting that the pressure of the artist experience transforms ethereal matter into precious stones, with a hyper focused; I am more inclined to hint, rather, at the expansiveness of the nature of the resource material, which is processed in order to produce the paintings. . It brings to mind a line by Charles Bukowski, an epic outsider and genius observer of the poetics of depravities. This line exists originally as a response to a question directed at Bukowski about the subject of his developing novel, “its in there” suggesting that the subject may not be simply understood as the purpose of the process.
While I actively and freely assimilate other artist’s work into my own, I am, for better or worse, my own painter. Independent to the point of a harrowing experience of alienation, I gain quiet confidence and great comfort from the experience of powerful and beautiful art. I hope that my work, these paintings, can affect others in this way.
THIS EXHIBITION RUNS FROM SATURDAY, APRIL 14th TO SATURDAY, MAY 5th
For more information regarding these exhibitions, please contact the Moore Gallery (416) 504-3914. The gallery is located at 80 Spadina Avenue (south of Adelaide), Suite 404, Toronto. Gallery hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Check our website at www.mooregallery.com