Bruce Adams Solo Exhibition to Open at Artpark
Extemporal: Works on Paper will open with a reception on July 21.
LEWISTON, NY – As part of Artpark’s summer exhibition schedule, “Extemporal: Works on Paper by Bruce Adams” will open on July 13 with a reception for the exhibit on the third Thursday of the month, July 21st from 6 - 8 pm. VIP Shuttle service to the park on the night of the opening will be available for $25. The shuttle will pick up from Benjaman Gallery at 419 Elmwood Avenue near the corner of Bryant at 5:30 sharp. The shuttle includes an early preview of the exhibition and unlimited wine from Paradise Wines. Reservations for the shuttle can be made with Benjaman Gallery by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and must be submitted by July 11th.
Bruce Adams, WNY artist, educator, and critic began this series of work in 2011. The concept came out of the artist’s time as a teacher in the Tonawanda City Public School system. In these painting demonstrations, the artist would ask the class to chose two images at random, which he would spontaneously paint in one composition. Years later, Adams realized the visual impact of these works and began making paintings of this nature inside his studio.
The paintings in the Extemporal Suite are much more spontaneous than the body of work most often associated with Adams. With their vibrant colors and expressionistic brush strokes, Adams explores a different, more intuitive way of creating. The resulting compositions, which often combine imagery from multiple sources, are captivating and often whimsical. Those sources range from vintage ads, to news photos, to the Mexican game La Lotería.
In addition to the opening night reception, Artpark will also be offering a “Paint Night” event on Friday July 29th from 5:30- 8:30pm. Adams will teach a class similar to the ones that inspired the Extemporal suite. Participants will create a painting using the same techniques and medium as the works featured in exhibit. The cost for the “Paint Night” event is $35 per person and includes all materials (brushes, paper, and paints) as well as a glass of wine. Additional wine and refreshments will be available for purchase at the event. To reserve a spot for this event please contact the box office at Artpark at 716-754-9000
ABOUT Bruce Adams
Bruce Adams is best known as a conceptually based figurative painter who references various (often historical) painting styles. In exploring the act of painting, Adams peels back the layers of meaning inherent in making and viewing art.
Formally trained in art education at Buffalo State College, Adams considers his true education to be his involvement in Western New York’s contemporary art scene, starting in the nineteen-eighties as director/curator of a small storefront gallery called peopleart bflo, and then with Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center as an Artist Advisory Committee co-founder, long-time board member, and board president.
Adams has straddled the fine art and art education communities as a painter, installation and performance artist, public school art teacher, adjunct college art instructor, arts advocate, and more recently critical and creative writer. He has exhibited extensively, and his work is included in numerous private and museum collections including the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Castellani Museum, UB Anderson Gallery, and Burchfield-Penney Art Center. In 2007 Adams was given an extensive mid-career survey exhibition titled Bruce Adams, Half Life 1980-2006 at the UB Anderson Gallery.
Adams’ installations and performances have been staged in public venues such as Buffalo’s First Night, the Urban Art Project, and most notably the public art event Artists and Models Affair. Adams won the Bronze award in art criticism in the National City and Regional Magazine Editorial and Design Awards.
ABOUT The Extemporal Suite
This group of work came about almost accidentally. For years as a public school art teacher I did annual painting demonstrations for my students that emphasized working spontaneously from arbitrary subject matter. Students would select a picture or two from a box of images and I would make a largely completed painting from the chosen subject matter using cheap paint in the course of one period. I never took these works seriously, but when I left teaching others who saw the collection of demonstration paintings reacted so positively that it caused me to reconsider them.
The process for the works here is similar. The title comes from the Latin extemporalis, meaning on the spur of the moment, or less literally, unrehearsed. When I go to my studio, before working on more extended paintings, I “warm up” by doing one or more complete improvised works. I keep a collection of images that I find interesting for a variety of reasons, and from these I select one or two intuitively in a very limited time, usually a minute or less. Sometimes I use single images, other times two, responding to associations the pairings create. Then I begin painting without pre-drawing or conscious thought. Colors are selected spontaneously. As I paint I respond to the work in progress making changes as needed, allowing the painting to develop organically. Most paintings are completed in around an hour, none more than two.
Several subcategories have emerged or are emerging, one being the Chrome Works based on vintage chrome car decorations. These are objects of beauty to which I have applied the same spontaneous approach as the parent Extemporal Suite. Isolated and largely centered on a page they seem like fetishized icons of a different era. Like much of my work, I see the Chrome Works having the greatest impact grouped collectively together.
1) Bruce Adams, Random 26 , 2016, Acrylic on Paper
2) Bruce Adams, Random 19 , 2016, Acrylic on Paper
3) Bruce Adams, Random 10 , 2011, Acrylic on Paper
4) Bruce Adams, Random 5, 2011, Acrylic on Paper