Derrick Adams: Aestheticized Reductions of Self-Representation

27 November 2013 - 11 January 2014

Private View: Tuesday 26 November, 2013


Hales Gallery is pleased to announce Aestheticized Reductions of Self-Representation, the gallery's first solo show with New York-based artist Derrick Adams.


Adams works in a multiplicity of differing artistic disciplines including performance, sculpture and in the case of this show, mixed media collages on paper. The works on show are a development from the Deconstruction Worker series on which Adams began to work in 2011. They reference the collages of the influential African American artist Romare Bearden (1911-1988) and act as a continued development and ongoing exploration into envisaging a direct relationship between popular culture, aspirational American cityscapes and the persons, politics and issues of the African-American community. Adams' images represent both man and monument as they coexist in the landscape where societal elements, the built environment and the physiological condition of being human become interchangeable.


Up to this point, Adams' works have appeared in the form of hybrid plans, taking the form of a visual language familiar to architects, civil engineers, town planners and interior designers. The first of these works exist as floor plan portraits where the mock wooden paper surfaces selected by Adams mimic skin tone, and the shape of each head suggests the shape of an imaginary building footprint. Adams developed this theme throughout 2012. In this brand new body of work for his London show Adams is creating elevations which encompass caricatured figures entwined with various built elements, suggesting a simultaneous state of dress and undress, part building and part body.


Adams' collage has become more complex over time with spatial and figurative elements more readily fused in unexpected ways. The works feature images that suggest cubistic interiors in a state of both construction and demolition. These interiors form an arena for Adams to mess with decorative schemes which in turn are used as vehicles to carry associative power. Animal prints, sports trophies, wooden African mantle sculpture, African masks, political posters and popular magazines all act as a clichéd language of otherness in which the figures pose and interact.


Adams received his MFA from Columbia University and BFA from Pratt Institute and is a Skowhegan and Marie Walsh Sharpe alumnus.  He is a recipient of a 2009 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and is an honored finalist for the 2011 William H. Johnson Prize. Exhibition and performance highlights include:  MoMA PS1 Greater New York 2005; PERFORMA 05; Brooklyn Museum Open House; The Kitchen, NYC 2010; The Bearden Project, Studio Museum in Harlem 2011/12;The Channel, BAM Fisher Theater, Brooklyn NY, 2012; ; Radical Presence: Black Performance in Contemporary Art, and The Shadows Took Shape, both at the Studio Museum in Harlem, 2013; and Once Upon a Time, Salon 94, New York NY, in collaboration with the Calder Foundation for PERFORMA 13.

Installation Views

Derrick Adams, Human Structure Shedding Light, mixed media collage on paper, 127 x 182.9 cm