Thursday, October 28, 2021

Marina Adams: Wild Is Its Own Way. Stephen Friedman Gallery. London

17 September–30 October 2021. 25—28 Old Burlington Street London W1S 3AN

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Stephen Friedman Gallery presents the second instalment of Marina Adams two-part exhibition on 17 September 2021. In ‘Wild Is Its Own Way’ the American artist focuses on new and recent large-scale paintings created over the last two years. Expansive in scale, Adams’ work explores colour, form and movement in a bold unabashed fashion. This presentation of Adams’ paintings continues during Frieze London until 30 October 2021. The project follows Adams’ highly acclaimed solo exhibition at Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Dallas, Texas in autumn 2020.

Investigating the power of paint, line and colour, Adams sketches compositions in charcoal before allowing experimentation whilst working. Her paintings are a study in contrasts and unlikely pairings. Adams approaches her work with a startling minimal colour palette deployed with maximum energy. She brings into play meticulous organisation offset by improvisation. Adams observes and absorbs her environment to depict powerful abstract images with a subtle strength and passion.

In an artistic career spanning over forty years, Adams knew from early on that the use of pattern and colour would influence her painting. In the late 1980s she visited the Alhambra de Granada in Spain. This was a pivotal moment for the young artist as she recognised the power of abstract imagery and geometric harmonies. Adams explains, “One of the reasons I allow my love of pattern to be predominant in the paintings is that pattern is a language that crosses boundaries. It offers common ground.”

Travelling widely throughout her career, Adams moved to Rome, Italy in 1992. During this period, she worked predominantly in oil paint. She developed her form by experimenting with line and surfaces.

On her return to New York, the artist produced large-scale works on paper by piecing sheets of paper together – “inventing a landscape” – of abstract form and colour. These impressive watercolour-based paintings hung on the wall of her New York studio. At the same time, she began to attend poetry readings at St Mark’s Church-in-the-Bowery, where she was introduced to poet and playwright, Leslie Scalapino. This was the start of numerous collaborations with poets and writers, including a lively partnership of over twenty years with Canadian poet Norma Cole.

Over the last decade, Marina Adams increased the scale of her paintings– examining the line, edge, composition and transition of one colourful form contoured next to the other. ‘Native Sun’ 2020 is such an immersive example and features luminous hues which vibrate in a patchwork of colour and form. Whilst the painting’s geometric harmonies have an immediate impact, the visible brushstrokes that break up these areas of colour introduce a haptic quality that rewards sustained attention. She arranges the shapes to act in harmony whilst also holding their own, alive with the potential to move and shift. Adams explains, “Thinking about the world in terms of energy, as an energetic space, really interests me [in terms of] what I’m doing here in the studio—what I’m putting into the world and how I’m trying to communicate.”

Marina Adams (b. 1960, Orange, New Jersey) obtained a BFA from the Tyler School of Art, Philadelphia and an MFA from Columbia University, USA. Solo exhibitions of her work have been presented at Salon 94, New York; Galerie Gris, Hudson, New York; CUE Art Foundation, New York; and Magazzino d’Arte Moderna, Rome, Italy. Her work was also included in Making & Unmaking: An exhibition curated by Duro Olowu, Camden Arts Centre, London, UK. Adams received the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship in 2016 and the Award of Merit Medal for Painting from the Academy of Arts and Letters in 2018. Adams lives and works in New York, USA and Parma, Italy.

Stephen Friedman Gallery

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