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Alexander Adams:  Large Paintings, Theatr Clywd, Oriel Gallery

From: Trebor
Category: Exhibitions
Date: 09 January 2004


This is the biggest exhibition of the artist’s work to date and will focus on works that have never previously been displayed. Adams’ haunting monochrome paintings don’t represent the world ‘directly’, instead they work on existing photographic representations, enjoying the rustle of different media as they brush against each other. These pictures describe photographs, using black, white and grey only. Adams’ work fascinates by thickening the photographic real, using paint to give new physicality and density to re-presented scenes. His paintings are close style to the Northwest artist Spencer John Derry certainly his earlier works dating 99-01 though Derry has moved on to brighter figurative and landscape paintings (see

"To be modern is to know that which is no longer possible" said the critic Roland Barthes. Adams' work seems to deal with this recognition of painting's own mortality, making the mourning for its lost prerogatives into a lively wake.

Alexander Adams is a painter who lived and painted in north Wales during the 1980s and 1990s. After studying art at Wrexham Art College between 1991 and 1992, he moved to London to study painting at Goldsmiths’ College in London he is now based in North Wales.

All the work on display is painted in shades of grey, black and white only. Since renouncing other colours in autumn of 1994, Adams has only used black and white. The artist has written:

'Working in black and white breaks the link with naturalism and allows the painter to operate without instinctively judging how ‘real’ an image is. It gives the artist distance, space in which to explore issues not connected with realism. The picture must remain something other than a simulation of everyday appearance, something more ambiguous and complex.'

Amongst his collectors are the noted art critic and ceramicist Emmanuel Cooper, the entertainer Michael Barrymore and Paul O’Grady, better known through his stage personality Lily Savage. His work is held in private collections in France, Germany, Italy, Russia and Spain, as well as in the UK. A major work entered the State Darwin Museum in Moscow in 2002.

Adams' paintings are not of or about a figure, a landscape, a building. Says the artist 'they do not presume (and could not hope) to convey original information about the subject of the source photograph.

Large paintings can be seen until 19th January.

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