Release Date: January 3, 2007
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The UB Anderson Gallery is proud to present “Bruce Adams, Half Life, 1980-2006,” the first comprehensive survey of more than 70 paintings and works on paper. The exhibition will open in the UB Anderson Gallery with a public reception on Feb. 9 from 6-8 p.m. The exhibition will be accompanied by a 64-page catalog with an essay by John Massier, visual arts curator, Hallwalls Contemporary Art Center, and an interview by Sandra Firmin.
In conjunction with Bruce Adams, Half Life, 1980-2006 the artist will present a lecture entitled Ideas Made Visible on Feb. 20 from 7-8:30 p.m. Admission is free and the event is open to the public. On March 21, from 6-9 p.m. Bruce Adams will lead a workshop, Artist as Educator: Blank Canvas to Finished Product. This workshop is open to educators, art educators and college-level art-education students. The fee is $10 per person and pre-registration is required. To register for the workshop, call (716) 829-3754. Both events will take place in the UB Anderson Gallery, 2nd Floor Museum Studies Room.
Known primarily as a figurative painter, Adams has wielded his brush in a variety of styles — from the expressionistic to photorealist — to generate a system of signs that exuberantly combine a variety of source materials, juxtaposing pulp cultural, archeological, technological and art historical references.
Adams began his life as a professional artist in Buffalo in the early 1980s. Along with his contemporaries such as painters David Salle and Eric Fischl, as well photographers such as Sherrie Levine and Louise Lawler, Adams used appropriation techniques during this period to critically evaluate societal structures and the role of governments, the media and museums. Adams’ Research and Development series (early- to mid-1990s) is a culmination of ideas that he had been exploring throughout the 1980s. This series deals with representations of class, gender and ethnicity in relation to the ideal American citizen. Men at Work (1994-95) shows “Leave-it-to-Beaver” dads bent over varied objects — statues, vases, bombs, etc. — absorbed in what looks like scientific analysis or conservation. By placing pinup posters on the walls behind these men, Adams re-contextualizes the girlie magazines that are often found hidden underneath parent’s beds in countless suburban homes and offers a tongue-in-cheek commentary on sexual repression in the American nuclear family.
In the last series in the exhibition Paintings of Pictures of People with Paintings from the early 2000s, Adams, chameleon-like, employs a photorealist style to document people in museums looking at paintings. Adams has removed all traces of architecture, allowing the people and paintings to co-exist in white expanses, highlighting the dynamic between audiences and artwork.
Adams received his bachelor’s degree (1976) and master’s degree (1983) in art education from Buffalo State College. He has been an art instructor in elementary and high schools in the Tonawanda region for more than 25 years, and returned to his alma mater as an adjunct professor from 1991-94. Adams has shown extensively in the region at Big Orbit, Upton Hall and the Burchfield-Penney Art Center. His work is featured in numerous public and private collections.
Among his many honors, Adams was awarded the Citibank Award at the 41st WNY Exhibition at Albright Knox Art Gallery, as well as the Benjamens Gallery Award at the 42nd WNY Exhibition. Other awards are New York State Art Educator of the year from the National Art Education Association in 2000, New York State Art Educator of the Year award from New York State Art Teachers Association in 1999 and a grant from New Forms Regional initiative of the National Endowment of the Arts and the Rockefeller Foundation in 1990. An active member of the Buffalo arts community, he lectures and publishes widely and served for three years (2003-2006) as the president of the board of directors at Hallwalls.
UB Anderson Gallery, located on Martha Jackson Place near Englewood and Kenmore, is open Wednesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1-5 p.m. The exhibition is free and open to the public and is on view from Feb. 9 to March 25.
UB Anderson Gallery is supported with funds from the Office of the Provost, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Anderson Gallery Program Fund and the UB Collection Care and Management Endowment Fund.