Patrick Adams grew up on the wind-swept prairie of southwest Minnesota. It was there that he came to love the vast, light-filled landscapes that are now the dominant subject of his work. He moved with his wife and children to Lexington, Kentucky to attend the graduate school of the University of Kentucky, where he was awarded the Master of Fine Arts degree in 1992. Adams has twice been awarded the prestigious Al Smith Fellowship from the Kentucky Arts Council, which allowed him to travel to Provence, France, where he laid the foundations for a body of work that he has continued to build upon over the last 17 years. His work can be found in many private and corporate collections, such as the James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (Columbus, OH), Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville, FL), Hilliard Lyons (Louisville, KY), and Gaylord International Convention Center (Washington, DC). Adams serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky and Asbury University.
I have been painting images of the landscape for over twenty years now. I want my paintings to convey a sense of the majesty of the natural world through the poetry of paint. However, I am not interested in simply producing a painting with a likeness to a particular place. What does interest me is expressing the experience of a place; or, perhaps I should say, its essence. This is why I return to the same handful of places over and over again. These places are inexhaustible sources of inspiration because each experience of them is unique. I want to convey the experience of being in this vast, ever-changing space of light and form.
Painting is a focusing and sculpting of light; and light (interestingly) is the one thing we experience that is outside of time—that is, light does not age. I want my paintings to somehow convey that sense of eternity. My work begins in the observable world, but attempts to go beyond the surface of things. I want to get inside them. This kind of seeing is not straightforward or simple. I begin a work on the assumption that I am impaired by blindness, and the painting process is the cure for this infirmity—the means by which I acquire true sight. I would describe this process as bumbling around in the dark. I even try to deliberately frustrate my progress, using awkward pastry brushes and palette knives. I change the direction, color, composition, and manner of paint application constantly, and overwork my paintings to nearly (and sometimes beyond) the point of no return. This is all in an effort to keep myself guessing and groping around in the work to find my way forward. This process builds a very tactile and layered surface, which to me is as important as the image. I am never satisfied if a painting is too easy or controlled (contrived)—I would have to mess it up and start again. It is this process of repeated failures and false starts that I find creates any real poetry in my work.
Master of Fine Arts, University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 1992
Bachelor of Arts, Winona State University, Winona, MN, 1989
Al Smith Fellowship, Kentucky Arts Council, 2000
Al Smith Fellowship/Professional Assistance Award, Kentucky Arts Council, 1998
Teaching Assistantship/Full-Scholarship, University of Kentucky Art Department, 1990-92
Patrick Adams: New Work, Aberson Exhibits, Tulsa, OK
The Many and the One, Evansville Museum of Art, Science, and History, Evansville, IN
In Two Worlds, Ann Tower Gallery, Lexington, KY
Elemental Signs, Apostles Anglican Church, Lexington, KY
In Two Worlds, Red Arrow Gallery, Nashville, TN
The Elements, Aberson Exhibits, Tulsa, OK
Of Water and Spirit, Ann Tower Gallery, Lexington, KY
New Work, Gallery One, Nashville, TN
Heaven and Earth, Z. T. Johnson Gallery, Asbury University, Wilmore, KY
Outside Looking In, Chapman Friedman Gallery, Louisville, KY