Born in Hampton, Virginia, John M. Adams spent most of his childhood in rural Gloucester, Virginia, surrounded by woods and the open waterways of the lower Chesapeake Bay. He received a BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an MFA from James Madison University. He has received numerous honors including a Graduate Fellowship for Painting from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Adams’ exhibition history includes international, solo, and small group exhibitions in commercial, non-profit, and university art galleries. In the past year this has included exhibitions at the Anne C. Fisher Gallery in Washington, DC, the Arlington Art Center, Gallery International in Baltimore, MD, the Andrews Gallery at the College of William and Mary, and Gallery 5 in Richmond, VA. His artwork can be found in numerous private, corporate and public collections from Richmond, VA to Manhattan, NYC. His artwork has earned praise twice from Washington Post Art/film Critic Michael O’Sullivan, and the artwork was featured in issue #6 of RVA Magazine. Recently, seven of Adams’ artworks were purchased by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for public collections (Wilson Building Collection and The Art Bank). He lives and maintains a studio in Arlington, VA, about one half mile from the Pentagon.
My work entices the viewer to become observant. This is not the kind of observation in which objects are given names and then tucked neatly away in the appropriate “cubby-holes” of our minds. Instead, this is the kind of observation that comes from being aware of what is happening at the moment of the encounter – visual meditation.
When elements lose their imposed names and meanings, we can truly observe. The process of making these drawings and paintings relies upon those moments when all of the mind’s chatter is silent and I am no longer aware I am “painting”. I am simply experiencing and reacting to what is happening at that moment. The repetitive action of moving the paint, drawing material and text on the surface with my hands (similar in principle to a mantra) brings about a state of awareness in which every mark’s differences and similarities are near equivalent in distribution. The subtle variation of tone, value, and intensity of color renders precise calculation futile, so peripheral perception takes over.
The repetitive meditative action is reflected in the work through accumulation of marks over a period of time varying from days to months. Tension between the atmospheric random marks and the regulated rhythm of horizontal lines creates a visual vibration, which resonates endlessly (confined to the object none the less). In other paintings, the structural lines take the form of a drip, forming a counterpoint for the chaotic mark making. Juxtaposing a textural, physical paint surface with a slick, subtle panel may also form tension which draws the viewer in.
Upon viewing the works for several minutes, the viewer may experience the shift to peripheral perception while “peeling” those layers away, as I did creating the works. This event fuses the artist, process, object, experience, and viewer into an inseparable symbiotic whole.