Born in Orange, New Jersey, 1960; Lives and works in New York, New York and Parma, Italy
I still think about how Cézanne finds an edge, what that is, and how we see. That’s something that enters into my work: how we see, how we experience. That comes back to a kind of being, to the physicality of painting—and also to the understanding that art is about being lived with. — Marina Adams, 2019
Affinities of Abstraction
Marina Adams’ (b. 1960) paintings display the artist’s deft use of palette. Fluently pushing color into form, Adams creates undulating, interlocking shapes that reveal a powerful internal rhythm beneath their surface simplicity. As the artist puts it, “Meaning and intellect in abstract art can be difficult to locate, as there is no narrative to lead us into it. It is like the voice itself. I use pattern and color to create the voice. And I use structure and form to channel it.”
The artist’s vibrant compositions use saturated shades and sensual shapes to pack a graphic punch. While purely abstract, the works’ organic, free-flowing patterns are redolent of landscapes or bodies. Unlike many contemporary artists, who deliberately blur the line between figuration and abstraction, Adams’ current work is unabashedly—and exuberantly—abstract, allowing the artist to play with sheer color, form and pattern. Her work bears a Matisse-like connection to the intricate patterns of textiles; there is also a resonance with the rich designs of Moroccan rugs—and for that matter, those by Sonia Delaunay. Another inspiration for the artist has been Moorish mosaics, such as the magnificent tessellated walls in the Alhambra palace in Granada.
Recent solo exhibitions include Wild Is Its Own Way at Stephen Friedman Gallery, London (UK) in 2021; Deep Breathing at Von Bartha, S-Chanf (CH) in 2021; Tennis Elbow at the Journal Gallery, New York (NY) in 2021; and
FOCUS: Marina Adams at The Modern Art Museum, Fort Worth (TX) in 2020.
Recent group exhibitions include Unrepeated: Unique Prints from Two Palms at David Zwirner, New York (NY) in 2022; Affinities for Abstraction: Artists on Eastern Long Island, 1950 - 2020 at the Parrish Art Museum, Water Mill (NY) in 2021; Good Pictures, curated by Austin Lee, at Jeffrey Deitch, New York (NY) in 2020; (Nothing But) Flowers at Karma Gallery, New York (NY) in 2020; and Making & Unmaking, curated by Duro Olowu, at the Camden Arts Center, London (UK) in 2016. Adams is the recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship (2016) and the Award of Merit Medal for Painting from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2018).
The artist’s work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York (NY); the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (TX); the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York (NY); and the Longlati Foundation, Shanghai (CN).
The New Yorker