Article: Good on Paper

For his upcoming exhibition at The Museum in the Park Adam will be showing his large watercolours alongside sculptural works that explore both the underlying  structures of the physical worlds and the stories that we use to explain the world to ourselves, the mythologies that we live by.

Not withstanding the singularity of his vision, Adam has invited various other artists to respond to interpret the material that he is dealing with. The programme will include a half term fossil hunt as well as an interactive installation by artists Emily Joy and Alison Cockcroft, working as Periscope.

There will be live performances by artists Uta Baldauf and Kirsty Limburn, and a musical recital involving a Geiger counter by Sean Roe and Richard Dean. 

Paul Harper has a wide range of experience of working in the arts. He was a founding director of Alias Arts and is Vice-chair of the Forest of Dean Sculpture Trust. He currently combines writing, research and teaching with consultancy in the visual arts and crafts.

"He picks up or directs my attention towards castings, enthusing about the light refracting quality of the resins that he likes to work with, explaining the multiple meanings embedded in each piece. Objects and ideas seem densely layered, like archaeological strata. A certain amount of creative chaos is evident, which belies his highly planned and systematic approach that characterizes his working methods. In the centre of the space sits a new Work, a section of tree trunk, the rotten interior of which is apparently encrusted with wood resin that has apparently crystallised into clusters of hexagonal nodes. More resin oozes from a gaping wound in the trunk. The impression is of something between a natural organic process of decay and a catastrophic parasitic infection."

"Adam’s large paintings are alive with ideas, but they also demonstrate an attention to technique. He uses technically experimental approaches to watercolour paints for instance, a medium often associated with more modest sketches or gentle subjects is here used on a very deliberate, analytical image making and the characteristic tendency of the liquid paint to flo and bloom when it meets the absorbent paper, images swim in and out of clarity.  The sometimes darkly portentous content is matched by a decorative, seductive beauty. The ambition of Adam's vision is matched by his technical mastery.

Many of Adam’s concerns seem esoteric, referring to creation myths and hinting at complex unifying theories. He has a wide-ranging and detailed knowledge, particularly of zoology, palaeontology and geology. He is a member of a number of geological societies and when he isn’t working through the night in his studio, he can often be found on the banks of the River Severn fossil hunting.

Listening to him talk, he can seem like a gentleman of the early romantic period, an 18th century amateur scholar, the Reverend White strolling about the countryside in a dark frock coat with his geologists hammer, searching for ichthyosaur bones, his head full of wonder and poetry, resisting the reductive natural philosophies of the Enlightenment, emulating theories of the universe that insist upon the importance of subjective experience and imagination alongside methodical scentific inquiry."