Water Springs Eternal From The Impossible Garden Of Light And Other Imperfect Constructions Demonstrating The Mechanics Of Our Revolt is not only the longest exhibition and book title I have ever come across, but also possibly the most challenging. The challenge of course is in the bombast, since we expect deference from artists, not confrontation. What is doubly unexpected with Harry Adams is that we are also confronted with beauty, and - here's the true shocker - painting. And figurative painting at that, when a practice like this can be a visual equivalent of “Hey Nonny No” trad folk. But there's an edge here. As Jean Rhys wrote in her late masterpiece Wide Sargasso Sea "Our garden was large and beautiful as that garden in The Bible - the tree of life grew there. But it had gone wild."
This exhibition serves as a brief survey of the last two years of studio practice by Adam Wood and Steve Lowe, aka Harry Adams, on the occasion of their first solo show in London for four years. This survey is not about the work in itself so much as it is about looking for the connections between the works - the landscapes, the Brutalism, the sacred geometry, the trial by combat! It's important to know that Harry Adams paintings are not made for people to like. The paintings must make their own journey, in the back and forth between the two painters, and in the potentially toxic atmosphere of their semi-subterranean studio in Clerkenwell. And it's this journey that Harry Adams wishes to take you on, sometimes it's a ramble in bucolic, hazy beauty, and sometimes it's a tumbling rush into the rubble, with the paint and the canvas a souvenir, with all it's layers, scrapings, scratches and splashes.
On the occasion of this exhibition the artists have also published a book. Not strictly a catalogue of the exhibition itself, it provides a broader framework for those wishing to understand their work better, aided by an insightful introduction by Neal Brown. The book is available for free to those who visit the show.