With this exhibition, Adam mines his experience growing up in suburban Australia to address questions of identity and origin by deconstructing traditional Australian Impressionism. The series of paintings, drawing and sculpture on view seek to find a balance between stagnation and growth, movement and flatness, that coincides with each generation's search for what defines it.
The color palette in the three paintings on display reference those used by Australia’s Heidelberg School. These turn-of-the-century impressionist painters—such as Arthur Streeton, Walter Withers, Tom Roberts and Frederick McCubbin—were some of the first artists trained in Australia, many were first generation Australians. Painted in plein air, the works produced by the Heidelberg School were seminal in accurately depicting the color and scale of the country’s landscape. The succinct gesture in Adam’s oil on linen works creates an energetic rhythm representative of the output by the Heidelberg painters, while the colors are a humble nod to traditional Australian Impressionism.
A sculptural installation titled Godfrey’s, as well as works on paper, address the shifting identity politics in contemporary Australia. With Godfrey’s, a reference to domesticity and the previous generation's’ dream of buying a home and raising a family, a beach ball hovers suspended above a vacuum model popular during the 90’s in the Australian Suburbs. The noise from the constant expulsion of air radiates around the room, offering a physical counterpart to the emotional movement inherent in the paintings and drawings.
Two works on paper adhere to the same motif of movement and stagnation, employing shifting monochromatic surfaces. A sense of depth emerges through the weight of the color, representative of a generation’s desire to move outside of the traditional domestic value system of the country. Patterns emerge within the paintings and drawings, hurried gestures that at once connect and layer color. These repeated marks imply a speeding up of time, while the layering introduces the idea potential revision and possible fatigue. The blue and the green in these works reference the two most prominent colors in landscape, which we associate with feelings of vastness and beauty. The fields of color are made to add presence in the room and to ease the eye; a reminder of seeking something new in what we already know.
Yonder is a personal endeavor. After a residency in Italy earlier this year Adam wanted to embrace his experience growing up in the coastal suburbs of Australia. The works in this exhibition approach identity as something abstract and transient, something constantly in flux, and reference the country’s landscape and the culture through color and movement. It is work that feels close, yet at a distance... over there... out yonder.