Painter Marina Adams Conjures Up Music and Light in Her New Abstract Paintings, Now on View in New York


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About the Artist: Painter Marina Adams (b. 1960) has been refining her rigorous explorations of color for decades. Working in a mode inspired by the New York School of painting, Adams’s works embrace gesturalism and improvisation. Her most recent works, jubilant paintings are marked by elastic forms and a balance and rhythm of shapes, are on view in “What Are You Listening To?” at LGDR in New York.

The New Jersey-born artist’s works were recently included in “Affinities for Abstraction: Artists on Eastern Long Island, 1950 to 2020″ at the Parrish Art Museum in 2021. She has collaborated with several poets on volumes as well, including Actualities with Norma Cole (Litmus Press, 2015); Taormina with Vincent Katz (Kayrock, 2012); The Tango with Leslie Scalapino (Granary Books, 2001); and Vue sur Mer with Christian Prigent (Gervais Jassaud, 2010).

Marina Adams, Let the River Answer (2021). Courtesy of LGDR.

Why We Like It: The exhibition press release includes an insightful quote from a 72-year-old Henri Matisse: “I finally came to consider colors as forces, to be assembled as inspiration dictates.” The structural power of color is certainly on full display in these energetic and engaging canvases, and can sometimes feel synesthetic. As the exhibition title “What Are You Listening To?” hints at these paintings’ relationship to music, indeed they can feel like paintings come to life and their individual titles give clues into their inspirations—such as EttaEllaEartha (2022), Song for My Mother (2022), and Let the River Answer (2022), the last lyrical allusion to Leonard Cohen’s song Suzanne. The artist recently relocated studios to the East End of Long Island and credits the light of her environment for the sculptural power of these works. 

Marina Adams, Twenty Springs (2022). Courtesy of LGDR.

Marina Adams, Twenty Springs (2022). Courtesy of LGDR.

According to the Gallery: “In persistent dialogue with art-historical heroes Matisse, Willem de Kooning, and Joan Mitchell, among others, Adams probes the lineages of Modernism while adding her own voice and momentum to this tradition. The palette of Twenty Springs (2022) echoes generously a monumental Nana sculpture of Niki de Saint Phalle, and its organic tower form looks to an intimate Sonia Delaunay drawing for inspiration.

Despite these connections, however, Twenty Springs announces itself on its own. The alluring sensibility of Adams’s paintings likewise pulls from disparate influences beyond the realm of painting. Architecture and music, textiles and carpets, utilitarian tribal objects, illuminated Coptic manuscripts, Islamic ornament, and folk arts are among the cultural practices that have inspired Adams; their acculturated patterns and embedded politics ultimately find their way into her paintings.”

Marina Adams, Two, Five and Ten (2022). Courtesy of LGDR.

Marina Adams, Two, Five and Ten (2022). Courtesy of LGDR.

“Marina Adams: What Are You Listening To?” is on view at LGDR through June 25, 2022.

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