I had an incredible time working on a couple pieces in Memphis, TN.
Look for more information to be released in the Spring of 2017!
I had an incredible time working on a couple pieces in Memphis, TN.
Look for more information to be released in the Spring of 2017!
|Edited and Prefaced By: Alyssa Laverda, Associate Director, Seraphin Gallery
By: Phillip Adams, Seraphin Gallery Artist
Phillip Adams’ solo exhibition opened on Friday April 22 with a celebration of his return to painting. When I Close My Eyes will be on view until May 29, 2016. The works in the exhibition relay the intense connection between the soul and the space we inhabit. Adams explores the place that lies between the physical and mental, and in the moments between frames that compound our experience and inform our memory and instigate nostalgia. Each of these paintings are deeply personal and vastly different; we have asked Phillip Adams to offer his insight and interpretation of each of the major works in the exhibition.
Phillip Adams, Brevard, 2016, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 54″ Placed in a private collection.
This painting is about a fleeting intimate moment, where the movement of the night gives the interior room life. The vignette of a run-down hallway shining through with daylight provides both doorways to the potential of possibility or despair. Both rooms at the end of the corridor are boarded up, residing in either radiance or obscurity. This painting is about intimacy and beauty, but also about solitude and reflection.
Phillip Adams, Montreal, 2016, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 54″
Montréal is ablaze with electric color and motion. A costumed crowd is featured center with two aggressive figures dominating the periphery of the composition. With light poured into the crowd and color streaked across figures, this piece explores the visceral tension and mystery of the night. A gathering of charades at the center of this painting explores the illusions and perceptions we hide or embrace in different settings and places. There are no better disguises than playing dress-up in a new place or setting; but at the core of one’s experience emotions always show through.
Phillip Adams, New York, 2016, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 54
Amid the cool undulation of the seemingly flowing water is a faceless diver. The energetic movement of the composition shows a chaotic moment of color and possible figures in the background, yet there is a calmness of embryonic stillness that is composed by the swimming figure. With the immensity of life, there is always the Self that navigates the floods and rivers of one’s experiences. Powerful water can instill fear, but also awe and excitement.
Phillip Adams, Santa Marta, 2016, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 54″
This painting captures a fleeting moment of primitive beauty. With a palm tree ablaze, a symbol of freedom, victory, or resurrection glows and lights the heart of this painting. A sole figure ghosts past caught in the glow from the burning explosive embers and the night’s air. It is this relationship that connects the ethereal to the undeniable.
Phillip Adams, Santorini, 2016, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 54″
This painting is inspired from one of the most beautiful islands in the world as seen at night. A place in a country steeped in history and a nexus of knowledge. Laocoön was a priest and seer, who was sentenced to death by giant serpents by the Gods after attempting to expose the deception of the Trojan Horse. In this painting, the famous Greek sculpture illuminates a moment in time, a moment of agony, struggle, and vied resilience. The insertion of Laocoön as the subject of this painting remarks on the disparity that even within one of the most beautiful places on earth there resides a global financial relationship that should be looked at and questioned.
Phillip Adams, Philadelphia, 2016, Oil on canvas, 36″ x 54″
Working with the youth of Philadelphia over the past decade inspired this painting. This image is a moment from working on a public art project in collaboration with a community garden at Sayre High School. As the group of hooded figures walk into the nondescript haze in the background, one is reminded of the current affairs of the black lives matter movement. Viewing these figures from behind, we realize that they are the same no matter of race, class, or gender. The heightened attention to race relations is only a part, as power in numbers and anonymity infiltrate the heart of this painting.
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Seraphin Gallery is proud to present a solo exhibition by Phillip Adams, titled When I Close My Eyes, from April 22- May 29, 2016. There will be an opening reception held on April 22, from 6pm-8pm at Seraphin Gallery with a private reception Wednesday April 20th. Phillip Adams returns to painting in this body of work that illustrates the heart of feeling, place and recollection.
Adams’ painting Santa Marta, titled after its inspirational location in the Caribbean region of Colombia, portrays the ethereal realm in between physical and mental space. Translating the passionate seclusion of South America, Adams sets a palm ablaze in a marriage of day and night, conceiving an aura of mystery that seduces the viewer into this fantastical memory. Throughout the exhibition, high contrast, sharpness, and technical skill harmoniously combine to create dreamlike scenes that evoke nostalgia- a true sensation of remembrance through ghostly depictions of landscape and figure. The artist curates compositions through digital processes and intuition, which relay an entire atmosphere- a natural transportation.
“When I close my eyes is a series that speaks to the intangible. Derived from places, memories, and emotions, I explored compositions and content that is fueled by the elusiveness of the subconscious and the shifting of memories. The titles reference the origin of each composition, questioning how “place” influences ones life. The cumulative experience from each place blur borders and memories but leaves lasting impressions and emotions.”
Phillip Adams is a Philadelphia based artist, who has exhibited regionally at Arcadia University, University of Pennsylvania, Institute of Contemporary Art as well as the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and Seraphin Gallery. Adams also exhibits nationally across the country, and creates large-scale murals both nationally and internationally.
Thanks to filmmaker/writer J Makary for putting this together.
Interview with Phillip Adams
By J. Louise Makary
Painter and muralist Phillip Adams took me to lunch at Ray’s Café on a cold February afternoon. Afterwards, we walked to his top-story studio in a Chinatown building that also houses active factory floors, where we had the following discussion—a continuation of an earlier conversation in which I discovered that Adams’s work is influenced by his pursuit of sublime and physically challenging experiences in nature as a rock-climber, surfer, and general adventurer. I was looking for a little advice on surfing, in a roundabout way, by talking with him about what contending with nature can offer the artist, personally and creatively.
Click HERE to read the interview.
Painting mural engages communicators in Philadelphia
Posted by Andrew Sherry
Artist Phillip Adams of Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program took his talents off the streets last month to paint a mural titled “Communications Matters” at the Communications Network conference of the same name. Like good communications, the mural was engaging, with as many as four or five people helping Adams with it at a time. Knight Foundation was a sponsor of the conference, which seeks to strengthen communications in the nonprofit sector, and the mural itself. The Mural Arts Program was a 2011 Knight Arts Challenge winner and received Knight support this year for the installation “psychylustro.”
Click HERE to see post.
Stop motion of creating Kite Line at Dickinson College’s Goodyear Gallery.
Goodyear Gallery, Dickinson College
September 9 – October 4, 2014
Opening: Tuesday, September 9 from 5-7 pm
Art review: ‘Spring Solos’ at the Arlington Arts Center
By Michael O’Sullivan, Thursday, May 15
The best fiction, it has been said, tells the truth by lying. Writers, filmmakers, even visual artists make stuff up to get at verities that transcend their invented circumstances.
This paradox lies at the heart of “Spring Solos 2014,” the new show — or, rather, shows — on view at the Arlington Arts Center. Though unrelated thematically, conceptually or in terms of medium, the seven mini-
exhibitions cluster, inadvertently, around a single question: Do we want to be deceived?
If the answer is yes, as it seems to be, a better question might be: Why?
The answers depend on how the question is framed.
Deception is front and center the minute you walk in the art center’s door. Along one wall of the atrium is a large trompe-l’oeil mural by Phillip Adams. Rendered in charcoal and graphite, the drawing depicts, in hyper-realist detail, the vertiginous view of a mountain range as seen from the edge of a snow-covered slope. Making it even more dizzyingly disorienting is the red plastic swing hanging from the ceiling, just in front of the mural.
Facing Adams’s immersive installation, it feels as if you might slip and fall into it. Reminding you that it’s a picture, not a portal to another world, is the room’s bright red fire alarm, which happens to be mounted smack in the middle of the drawing.
Adams, who often works as an outdoor muralist specializing in lifelike landscapes, practices a form of postmodern illusionism. His pictures fool the eye even as they call attention to their trickery. His visual punch line — that awkward, unavoidable fire alarm — both makes and unmakes the picture.
For Adams, then, the purpose of deception is visceral. His drawing is a thrill ride, cut short by a belly laugh.
Salvatore Pirrone’s aim is somewhat different. For his solo, the sculptor has cast multiples of everyday objects — dozens of cellphones, light bulbs, pencils and tennis balls — in pastel-colored concrete and plaster. Unlike Adams’s work, these are not realistic; they resemble oversize Pez candies as much as the objects they represent. Like Adams, though, Pirrone highlights his own artifice. His sculptures, although familiar in form, appear strange, even unnerving.
Several of the artists in the show betray a fascination with the uncanny.
That word — which can suggest both “weird” and “weirdly alike” — encapsulates the exhibition’s central paradox. If the art in “Spring Solos” is a mirror held up to the real world, it’s a mirror from the funhouse.
Take Benjamin Andrew. His installation in the basement presents an alternate history of Matthew Fontaine Maury, the man whose name once graced the former schoolhouse in which the AAC is located. Andrew’s art — which includes doctored photos, fake documents, machines and specimen jars — imagines Maury (1806-1873) as a time traveler who collaborated with scientists from the 23rd century. One artifact purports to be a time machine. “Powered by nostalgia,” as the label declares, it’s actually a plug-in appliance timer you can buy at Home Depot, modified with additional wires and hardware.
It seems, at first glance, that Andrew isn’t trying terribly hard to fool anyone. But maybe he’s trying too hard. Unlike Adams and Pirrone, his art comes across as less subversive than silly.
Favorites in “Spring Solos” include the work of Kyle J. Bauer and Alex Arzt. Bauer, a sculptor working mainly in ceramic and wood, creates brightly colored constructions that resemble pool toys. Inspired by nautical equipment, his enigmatic forms evoke such devices as buoys, floats and other navigational aides. But rather than guiding, they’re meant to confound and disorient. As a metaphor for being at sea — in both senses of the term — they’re quite effective.
As a photographer, Arzt would seem to be the artist most interested in recorded “truth.” Yet his contribution here is a display of surreal photograms — prints made by placing an object directly on photographic paper and exposing it to light. In this case, the objects are mushrooms that, over the course of hours or days, disintegrate and release spores or insect larvae. The resulting patterns — beautiful and unpredictable — don’t look like mushrooms, nor are they supposed to.
According to Arzt’s statement — which could well speak for most of the artists in this show — he’s less interested in making a slavish facsimile of an experience than in leaving a trace of something invisible, but no less true.
The story behind the work
Elizabeth Kauffman’s contribution to “Spring Solos” includes such interactive objects as a View-Master slide viewer containing a depiction of a UFO. But the core of her work here consists of a series of six watercolor paintings, each of which contains a text fragment suggesting that the images are renderings of paranormal phenomena through history. (You can research the back stories of several of her paintings, including “November 15, 1667 in Mittelfischach, Germany” at www.thinkaboutitdocs.com, a Web site devoted to “alternative views and truths on aliens, UFOs and the hidden agendas associated with them.”)
Kauffman’s titles may be presented as a matter of fact, but her paintings aren’t exactly deadpan. Full of drama, they come across as midway between credulous and skeptical. As documentary, they may be hard to believe, but as art, they’re hard to dismiss
The Story Behind the Work — Michael O’Sullivan
A short video time-lapse taken while creating my installation “Silent Swing” at Arlington Arts Center
Arlington Arts Center | Washington DC
April 26 – June 29, 2014
Seraphin Gallery | Philadelphia
April 25 – June 8, 2014
“We go wandering at night and are consumed by fire”
May 22nd, 5-8 pm
In collaboration with Damon Reaves, we are staging an artistic intervention throughout the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Anneberg Galleries on Wednesday May 22nd. It’s part installation, part gallery tour, and part storytelling.
Currently on View: “Dialogues & Correspondence” at the Seraphin Gallery
Editor, Fine Art Today
Dialogues & Correspondence
May 10 – June 16, 2013
“The Hunt”, charcoal, acrylic, and oil on wood panel, 36″ x 24″
1108 Pine St., Philadelphia, PA 19107
www.seraphingallery.com | 215-923-7000
An interview in conjunction with the project “Communion Between a Rock and a Hard Place”. I talk more personally about my studio practice in relation to murals, and the materials and process that I use.
By Edith Newhall, Philadelphia Inquirer, 10/9/11
In his first one-person show at Seraphin Gallery, “Love at the Matterhorn,” Phillip Adams has filled the gallery with new paintings from his “Solipsist” and “Matterhorn” series, most of which are black-and-white portraits of young men and women isolated at the bottom of the panel they’re painted on, against a white background.
As in Adams’ earlier “Solipsist” pictures, his solitary subjects wear glasses that reflect the scenes in front of them. The subjects of the Matterhorn paintings wear the same blue, hooded camouflage-patterned jacket.
Adams’ images can stir memories of photorealism – he draws his meticulous portraits with charcoal, occasionally adding painted areas – and he titles his works after his subjects’ first names, as Chuck Close did in his early portraits (and still does in his paintings). But Adams’ subjects seem younger and less defined as people than Close’s contemporaries did in the 1960s. The attitudinal young Richard Serra of Close’s black-and-white painting Richard, 1969 looked like someone who knew where he was going; the solemn facial expressions of Adams’ Keir, Corrine, and David seem blank by comparison. The reflections in the glasses worn by the “Solipsist” subjects suggest that they are passive voyeurs; the hoods on the heads of the “Matterhorn” figures exaggerate their youthfulness.
Adams is also showing paintings of mountainous landscapes with references to the Disneyland Matterhorn attraction. A table with an umbrella is improbably poised in an Alpine landscape in The Wait, while a tiny aerial tram car runs between two cliffs in Forever Young.
There’s an unknowable mystery in Adams’ images that he enhances by the contrasts of scale he uses, and the contrast of the drawn portrait to its white background. Now, in these landscapes, he seems to be introducing humor, too.
Paintings and Master Drawings
September 24 – October 23, 2011
Seraphin Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Topical art rises above mere politics and goes for broke–Obama and City Hall swamp the competition in my First Friday sweepstakes!
Phillip Adams’ giant wave, Spring Break 2009, is a room installation–a four-wall immersion experience. It’s a drawing of a breaking wave that brings to mind the overwhelming charcoal waves of Robert Longo.Adams’ wave, also of charcoal,is drawn directly on the walls of Tiger Strikes Asteroid gallery, a space that is maybe 10 feet x 10 feet. The wave circles the room, its crest towering above peoples’ heads, its monumental tube suggesting how temporary is the space in which the viewer stands, anticipating and fearing what’s about to happen.
Body surfing in the powerful tube of the wave is a small Barack Obama, on his Hawaii vacation. The visceral metaphor for the abstract financial and political tsunami swept everyone who saw it right off their moorings.
Adams, who has been making pristine, controlled trompe l’oeil portraits since he turned up in an Arcadia Works on Paper show in 2006 had to work quickly to complete this piece. It took him a week, and the scale, the vision and the speed all stretched him to the next level!
The foaming crests contain freely erased streaks of energy. The tube suggests the arc of the artist’s arm as he drew. The direct use of the wall–and the necessity of the work being destroyed at the end of the month–emphasizes the transience of the wave and this moment in time and the trajectory of all our lives!
If you see one gallery exhibit this month, this is the one. If you can afford to take down the walls of the gallery and prop them up in your museum or home gallery, go for it! Save this art before it disappears!!! Save this economy and this nation and our president before they disappear!!!
Spring Break 2009 is only the second exhibit at TSA, a group-run space dominated by Penn MFAs, including Alex Paik, Adams, and Caroline Santa, who has a solo show scheduled there next month. This is an exciting beginning!
Click HERE to read full article.
Phillip Adams, whose charcoal drawings are technical wows of draftsmanship and control, also is after the gap between the presentation and the experience. His triad of large, deadpan portraits, against white backgrounds is about the disorientation between no-space (the fashion- photography-inspired white backgrounds) and faux-space (the reflections of scenes in the mirrored sunglasses of the subjects). The window into someone’s eyes have been replaced by distorted substitute that sends me reeling. I may be reading too much into it, but I take these pieces as criticisms of a certain Elizabeth Peyton-ish coolness and self-absorption. I experience a sort of vertigo of the soul as I peer at the displaced persons and the reflections of displaced places. Like Yun, Adams is making me conscious of my take-for-granted understanding of reality, and in this case the reality is space and place, rather than color and sound.
Click HERE to read the full review.