CB1 Gallery is pleased to present Lisa Adams’ second solo show with the gallery, Second Life. Wielding an increased vocabulary of imagery and also of paint treatments, Adams transfers what she knows about nature, biology, zoology, botany, geometry, light, space, and spray paint into a parallel universe where the elements of composition have a different relationship to one another. The exhibition will be on view April 7 – May 12, 2013 and a reception for the artist will be held on Sunday, April 7, 2013, 5 – 7 p.m.
The works in Second Life were headed into unknown visual territory before an eye-surgery crisis intervened inLisa Adams life and paintings. A convalescence of enforced non-looking drove Adams even deeper into her imagination. She didn’t stop looking just because her eyes were closed — she looked around inside her head instead. Thinking took the place of seeing for a while, the very definition of imagination, and it’s that second world depicted in these landscapes. All of this happened right before Hurricane Sandy, so when she opened her eyes again, the real world really looked different — all coastal town architecture abstracted through destruction and roiling forces of nature. The exhibition includes the painting she started before and finished after; and its lonely black-mud island and forlorn cottage wound up a perfect allegory of storms raging inside and out. Throughout Second Life she expands her established lexicon of birch trees, varied surfaces, lone plant life, awkward built environments, smoke, vapor, clouds, faux finishes, deracinated shadows, lime green, sweated ochre, pepto pink, burnt lemon, and all kinds of blues.
The show’s title was inspired by the performance art of Jon Rafman, whose avatar Kool-Aid Man bedevils the simulated online game, Second Life. Rafman has talked about his work inside the sim world as being both hilarious and unsettling for other players to whom his incongruous juxtapositions are disruptive — for example appearing inside a D&D scenario without warning. “It’s like I’m destroying the consistency of their make-believe world. [My] presence triggers a Dadaist celebration of nonsense.” It’s a sweet irony, causing both consternation and nostalgic exuberance by injecting the unreal into something that’s also always already unreal. Adams likes it.
In one new painting a huge black spot eclipses most of the middle of the composition. Beyond it are gyres of sky and cloud, to the right a creeping vine falls and comes to rest along the bottom edge of the image, compressing space and pushing it back, obscuring and depicting at the same time. In other canvases, floating geometrical shapes dip underneath and hover over pictorial objects, making space both collapse and expand — and in the process drawing attention to the physical mechanics of sight. Joan Mitchell has said that painting is a way of being in the world. For Adams, it’s a way of being in the other world, too.
Lisa Adams is a painter and public artist, who has a B.A. from Scripps College and an M.F.A. from the Claremont Graduate University. She has exhibited nationally and internationally and has been an artist-in-resident in Slovenia, Finland, Holland, Japan and Costa Rica. Her many accomplishments include a Fulbright Professional Scholar Award and her work is in the public collections of Eli Broad, the San Jose Museum of Art, the Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art, the Laguna Museum of Art and the Edward Albee Foundation. She currently blogs on Los Angeles art for the Huffington Post.