Adams and Ollman is pleased to announce two solo exhibitions: New Works by Vince Skelly and Overlook by Mariel Capanna, both opening on February 12 and on view through March 13.
Adams and Ollman is pleased to present a solo exhibition of paintings by Billy White (b. 1962, lives in Hercules, California, and works in Richmond, California). Marking the artist’s first solo exhibition on the West Coast, the show will feature a selection of his expressive portraits made between 2016 and 2019. The exhibition is on view January 9 through February 6, 2021.
Adams and Ollman is pleased to present a new body of work by Joan Nelson as the artist’s third exhibition with the gallery. For nearly four decades, Joan Nelson has been reverently and subversively painting landscapes. Since the start of her career in New York in the 1980s, Nelson’s singular focus has been on the awe and the artifice of the tradition within which she is working. The new works—painted in reverse on plexiglass—feature mountain ranges, waterfalls, rainbows, expansive skies, and epic vistas, building on Nelson’s interests in the experience and depiction of the landscape, as well as in the materiality of paint and the history of painting.
Nelson’s invented and appropriated images push back against a male-dominated history of the landscape painting genre and question a deeply-rooted, North American vantage point centered on narratives of Western expansion, conquest and resource extraction. Combining details of trees, mountains, composition, and other elements borrowed from iconic depictions of landscape with imagery from photos, travel books, old postcards, imagination and memory, Nelson problematizes the notion of the discovery of this land by painting it as fiction.
Nelson’s choice of materials also suggests to the viewer that her paintings be understood as emphatically feminist landscapes. She adds mascara and glitter, as well as items collected from her garden and home, such as burnt sugar, plant life, and beads, to the maximalist palette of her wax, oil, and ink. The works are not planned, and imagery arrives through accident, experimentation and play as Nelson spray paints, stipples, draws and etches into the surface of each, coaxing a mood, a bit of light, or an impossible view. As the works unfold, the imagery toggles between abstraction and naturalism. Many of Nelson’s new works depict a barren, isolated landscape. Images are hazy, subject to the artist’s deft description of the fleeting effects of light and air, and depict the shifting nature of our world. She offers worlds that exist before and after us, and asks us to consider the environmental threats posed by human behavior.
Joan Nelson (b. 1958, California) lives and works in upstate New York. Her work is included in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York; the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Minneapolis Museum of Art; the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden in Washington D.C.; and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
Adams and Ollman is pleased to present the group exhibition Eartha. Using painting as a common language, the artists included in Eartha examine the concept of the natural world and their relationship to it. Together, the works offer a different way of being in the world, one that is personal, interconnected, and spiritual, while raising questions of representation, politics, gender and pleasure. Artists included in the exhibition are Hayley Barker, Amy Bay, Mariel Capanna, Emma Cook, Ann Craven, Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, and Maureen St. Vincent.
Images are revealed as rhythmic dashes, and dots of luscious color accumulate on the surfaces of Hayley Barker’s (lives and works in Los Angeles, CA) visionary paintings. Mediumistic and deeply spiritual, the images in Barker’s works are formed by ecstatic movements that create parallel worlds, ones in which divisions of figure and ground, interior and exterior, dream and reality, dissolve amidst undulating layers of light and shadow.
Amy Bay (lives and works in Portland, OR) mines stereotypically feminine realms—floral motifs, pattern, and decoration—in an ongoing series of lush, small-scale paintings that capture flowers in vibrant hues of red, blue, and yellow. Since 2017, Bay has explored the varied ways that flowers are depicted in everything from classical still-life paintings to folk art, wall coverings and textiles. Embracing the decorative, Bay celebrates the beauty and life-giving forces of flowers, depicting them in immersive realms of pure color, shape, and pleasure.
Working from films, documentaries, slideshows of found photos, and home videos, Mariel Capanna (lives and works in Salt Lake City, UT) captures landscapes in motion. With deft brushstrokes and thickly applied paint, Capanna depicts details as they move across the screen and out of the picture. Her dense surfaces are accumulations of flowers, cars, fountains, chairs, fires, and other images that come quickly into focus and then out of sight, marking a simultaneous awareness of both stillness and the passage of time.
In Emma Cook’s (lives and works in Austin, TX) monochromatic paintings, signs and symbols emerge from patterned fields of undulated lines or dense foliage. In these shape-shifting environments, female figures, candelabras, symbolic gates and newspaper headlines spring into focus from graphic grounds, functioning like a visual archaeology of place as they hint at unsettling narratives and latent histories.
Since 1995, Ann Craven (lives and works in New York, NY and Cushing, ME) has been capturing the moon in a series of paintings made in plein-air from the coast of the Eastern Seaboard—in Connecticut, Maine and New York City—to the cities of Paris and Reims in France. Each marked by a date, a time and a place, Craven’s catalog of moons, rendered in oil paint with assured strokes and luscious color, explores the astronomical body as a feminine symbol and as a marker of rhythms, cycles, and time.
Ka’ila Farrell-Smith’s (Klamath Modoc; lives and works in Modoc Point, OR) bold, colorful paintings are rooted in Indigenous aesthetics and the history of abstraction. Engaged in formal experimentation and play, the works use a distinct visual vocabulary that includes text, pattern, symbol, line, and gesture to explore the landscape in between Indigenous and western paradigms.
Maureen St. Vincent (lives and works in the Bay Area, CA) employs a surrealist vocabulary as she isolates and re-contextualizes elements of both the figure and the landscape. Sinewy lines create a road map through a terrain of erotic female body parts while we catch glimpses of the landscape through vagina-like portals. Rendered in soft pastels, the works show us an uncanny interconnectedness of body and land.
Adams and Ollman is pleased to announce an intergenerational pairing of two solo exhibitions opening on September 12: a selection of paintings from 1986 to 2017 by Lois Dodd (b. 1927), presented in collaboration with Alexandre Gallery, New York, will be on view alongside new ceramic sculptures by Sharif Farrag (b. 1993). This marks Farrag’s first exhibition at the gallery as well as the first significant presentation of Dodd’s work on the West Coast.
Lois Dodd’s paintings depict landscapes and locations—the Lower East Side in New York City, rural Mid-Coast Maine and the Delaware Water Gap in New Jersey—where the artist has lived and worked for over seventy years. Often completed in one session, Dodd’s intimate, small-scaled works feature the plants, trees, buildings, laundry, and moonlit sky that she has observed and recorded across seasons and over years. Dodd’s flat, distilled imagery is rendered with thin paint in luscious colors—ochres, pinks, greens and blues—and quick strokes that exist on their own as pure abstraction freed from descriptive responsibility. Her sensitive and emotive surfaces capture both the immediacy of direct experience of each place—the motion, light and feeling—as well as the spiritual aspects of the landscape.
A work from 2008 contains the image of an apple tree dappled with spring light in a foggy field; a work created seven years later shows what could be the same tree, now mature and full with fruit, framed through Dodd’s barn window. Dodd’s prolonged engagement with her subjects makes meaning— close attention to details, rhythms and changes across days and seasons adds up to a lifetime of wonder and a lasting record of place and experience.
California artist Sharif Farrag’s sculptural ceramic vessels contain a clash of references and values, offering cacophonies of thorny vines, skulls, comic book figures, dollar store trinkets, muscle cars, mosquitos and mythical creatures fashioned from a riot of colors and glazes. The artist’s objects and installations pull from his experience growing up as the child of immigrants in California’s San Fernando Valley. As a first generation Muslim American coming of age in the years immediately following 9/11, Farrag found refuge and community in the punk, graffiti and skateboard subcultures of the Los Angeles suburbs.
These early experiences helped to shape a personal iconography that is also deeply influenced by the visual, cultural and social traditions brought by his parents from their native countries of Egypt and Syria. Indebted to California’s funk art movement, Farrag’s vessels and figurative ceramics incorporate humor, autobiographical and surrealist elements, as well as unconventional forms and media, filtered through the perspective of his own generation.
Lois Dodd (b. 1927) has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions throughout the United States, including shows at Ogunquit Museum of American Art, ME (2018); Colby College Museum of Art, Waterville, M (2014); Bowdoin College Museum of Art, Brunswick, ME (2004); Montclair Art Museum, NJ (1996); and Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH (1990). A retrospective organized in 2012 by the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO, travelled to Portland Museum of Art, ME, the following year. From 1971 to 1992, Dodd taught at Brooklyn College, NY. She has also held positions at Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and Vermont Studio Center. Her work can be found in numerous public collections including The Art Institute of Chicago; Hall Art Foundation, Holle; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; and Yale University Art Gallery, New Haven. Dodd lives and works between Maine, the Delaware Water Gap, and New York, NY.
Sharif Farrag (b. 1993) lives and works in Los Angeles. He has been an artist in residence at the Ceramics Department of California State University Long Beach since 2018, and in 2019 he was awarded a residency at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. He holds a BFA from the University of Southern California.
Adams and Ollman is pleased to announce Fold, Stack, Turn, a group exhibition on view at the gallery in Portland from August 1 through September 3. The exhibition includes video, sculpture and works on paper by artists who perform simple gestures—folding fabric, turning the body, linking leather or stacking found objects—to create complex meaning.
ektor garcia (1985, Red Bluff, CA; lives and works between Mexico City and New York) creates seemingly utilitarian objects—a vessel, a screen or rope—made through various movements of his hands: twisting, wrapping, looping, knotting and braiding. These repetitive gestures continue traditions of labor and making from his family in Mexico.
Brontez Purnell (b. 1982, Triana, AL; lives and works in Oakland, CA) presents Free Jazz, a dance “mixtape” shot on 8mm film by cinematographer Gary “Fembot” Gregerson that documents “various dance parties, structured improvs, rituals and happenings” performed by the artist’s dance company between 2010 and 2012. Moving between genres, histories, identities and intentions, the body frees itself through improvisation from expectations.
Gabriela Vainsencher’s (b. 1982, Buenos Aires, Argentina; lives and works in Brooklyn, NY) sculptures start as flat slabs of porcelain which the artist then folds and turns into three dimensions. The resulting works are hybrids of body parts—breasts, muscles, hips, labia, and arms—in the classic shapes, forms and flourishes of ancient Greek vessels.
Stefanie Victor’s (b. 1982, New York, where she lives and works) works speak to the body and the senses of sight and touch. Victor’s artistic practice prioritizes intimacy and incorporates the confines of the body, studio and home to create meaning. In night (2011), Victor explores the imaginative potential for new uses for domestic objects. Starting with a pillow—itself an intimate object and one that has its own meaning and history—Victor haptically wills an image into being, rolling chalk with her hands over the soft surface. As the viewer watches Victor physically transform the pillow into a painting, the context and encounter shift from the realm of the familiar and useful toward something more personal and evocative.
Fold, Stack, Turn also includes collages by John Walker (b. 1939, Birmingham, England; lives and works in South Bristol, ME). Often described as an anti-scenic painter, his works on paper are angular and aggressive—graphic, forceful lines are stacked, twisted and ripped into a cohesive but clashing composition. His stripes and zigzags are a visual equivalent to the movement, emotion, beauty and fierceness of the coastal landscape that he has made the subject of his work for many years.
Over the course of more than forty years, Bill Walton (b. 1931, Camden, NJ—d. 2010, Philadelphia, PA) made a poetic body of work using common materials such as floorboards, wisteria branches, and paper napkins from his favorite diner, while employing simple gestures like stacking, folding, and turning. In this sense, he adopted the formal language of Minimalism—yet his works are also highly personal, handmade and small-scale. He chose never to date his works, believing rather that they were always in process and that materials were informed by their own histories, which they would bear as they subtly transformed over time.