« In Black and White and In Color »
Derrick Adams’ second solo exhibition at Galerie Anne de Villepoix combines two ongoing series: LIVE and IN COLOR, a collection of large-scale mixed media collage capturing the bold character dramatizations of black figures in entertainment; juxtaposed with GRAY AREA, a series of grayscale mixed media collage addressing the often imbalanced modes of speculation and assumption.
In the LIVE and IN COLOR series, film and TV stills, screen captures from sitcoms, music videos, news and stand-up comedy are the point of departure for the work and are used mainly for reference and inspiration. Most are images taken from early TV sitcoms and serve as a study of role-playing, and to deconstruct and reassemble black archetypes in American culture. Exaggerated gestures and body language, interlaced with hard-edged blocks of color and patterns, provide the subject with heightened emotion and theatrical presence. Specifically, LIVE and IN COLOR speaks to the colorful, larger than life personalities of people of color as historically portrayed to the general public on national TV, and the exaggeration of their psychological attributes and mannerisms in popular culture.
The monochromatic GRAY AREA series combine graphite, charcoal, grayscale acrylic paints, cut paper and fabric collage to construct both the figure and ground. The work employs the title’s idiomatic definition of ambiguity and uncertainty to address the often imbalanced modes of speculation and assumption, exploring characterization through traditional portraiture, posturing, fashion, and the power of the constructed narrative of the everyday as a social political gesture.
It is important to understand these images are propelled beyond the oppressed versions of black representation and are meant to redirect the conversation to the broader history of significant moments in the Trans-African cultural experience.
Adams' works have a pop-like simplicity of impact as clear lines and flat color define figurative imagery. Yet the underlying structure has a cubist complexity that he manipulates as he moves from one image to the next, from the two dimensional to the three dimensional. Instantly readable, yet slow to decipher, the formal aspects of Adams' art playfully speak to more serious subjects.
Derrick Adams is a multidisciplinary New York-based artist working in performance art, painting, sculpture, music and collage. His work focuses on the fragmentation and manipulation of structure and surface, communicating and exploring self image and forward projection. Adams received an MFA from Columbia University and BFA from Pratt Institute. He is a Skowhegan and Marie Walsh Sharpe alum, and a recipient of a 2009 Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, and 2014 S.J. Weiler Award. Since 2001, Adams has exhibited extensively, both nationally and internationally, including MoMA PS1, Brooklyn Museum of Art, PERFORMA ‘05 & ‘13 (commissioned by the Calder Foundation), Studio Museum in Harlem, Brooklyn Academy of Music, Contemporary Art Museum Houston, and the Birmingham Museum of Art. Adams’ work is in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Virginia Museum of Fine Arts,
Birmingham Museum of Art and Chase Bank. His work can be seen in New York at Tilton Gallery; Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago; Galerie Anne de Villepoix, Paris