The Passage of Time
“And as we go through our lives, we feel compelled to leave traces of our existence, from the simplest hand-drawn markings on wood or stone to the most complex technological creations. We want someone else to know, “I was here.” My paintings are my own way of making sense of this world.”
Stand in front of one of Deidre Adams paintings. Can you see the layering of paint? The transparency in some layers revealing the undertones that came before? The calligraphically resonated swirls on top? Deidre Adams paintings perfectly capture the passage of time; the literal passage of time through the layering of paint and the figurative passage of time through the references to evolving languages, moving cosmic processes, and appearance of changing landscapes.
For centuries, artists have referenced the passage of time through roads and paths, alluding to a physical journey. Recently, artists including Joan Mitchell and Jennifer Guidi, have been inspired by the physical passage of time. Joan Mitchell, a second-generation abstract expressionist painter and printmaker, is being recognized immensely for her colorful and expansive paintings. Mitchell’s paintings seem to defy time, elapsing the process of painting as being a grueling experience, into one of which took seconds to bring paint to canvas. Despite the immediacy her paintings seem to capture, Mitchell spent much of her time in the studio deciding where to put brush strokes, colors and lines. Jennifer Guidi’s paintings reveal the opposite. The layering of sand mixed with oil paint, which make up Guidi’s pieces, display the consuming process; imagine applying grains of sand to a sheet of paper, and then imagine doing this on a 92-by-74 inch panel.
Adams’s pieces balance instantaneous and gradual processes, combining large, gestural brushstrokes, the foundation of her pieces, with small, manipulated calligraphic forms. To the viewer, we see the time it took to create the pieces; it stands before our eyes in a beautiful symphony of colors and lines. But to Adams, the passage of time allows her to make sense of the world.
We are all constantly asking why things happen the way they do and questioning the mysteries of our own existence. Deidre Adams finds this meaning through references to our developing world. We have made sense of language, mathematics, physics, philosophy, music and art. It is clear to us, as viewers, that Adams makes sense of the world through these aspects, depicting calligraphic markings intertwined with chaotic brushstrokes; showing us all that while we have learned a lot about the world, we still have much to learn about it as well.
Through the passage of time, Deidre Adams leaves traces of herself, allowing her to further depict the sense she has made of the world through her paintings. When we recognize aspects of the world, we leave behind aspects of ourselves. When we make sense of language, we make up phrases and words distinct to ourselves, leaving behind a remote aspect of our existence. Adams’s traces are more lasting for their permanency on panels.
While they are Adams’s way of making sense of the world, as viewers a message of time and existence is communicated. We can adopt the experiences she has made to make sense of language and art, and relate them back to our world. Deidre Adams’s paintings teach us of the discoveries we have made.
Deidre Adams’s pieces will be on view as part of A Conscious Surrender on display from July 13th-September 8th.