Portrait of the artist as a mythological being

courtesy of the gallery and artist

The concept of painter Bruce Adams’s current exhibition at Studio Hart is simple and compelling. The portrait series includes several of the painter’s art community friends, all of whom were asked to bring something they could hold near their heads or actually wear on their heads. After photographing his subjects, Adams made the paintings and then googled the meaning of whatever accessory was chosen. Invariably, he arrived at the name of a particular god or goddess who is associated
with that object.
For example, the painting shown above features Squeaky Wheel director Jax Deluca, who brought fake fur rabbit ears and some carrots with her to the studio. After painting her, Adams found that there was a shape-shifter goddess who can take the form of a hare—Kaltes.
Many of Adams’s figurative paintings combine imagery from art history, world religions, archeological remains, and other traditional cultural icons, but the canonical matter is always given a contemporary twist. So it is with this image of Jax, in which the exotically beautiful eyes of the young artist provide a weird and wonderful contrast with her playful furry headdress.
The series, called god-heads, is on view at Studio Hart, 65 Allen Street from June 7 to July 3.
—Elizabeth Licata