Derrick Adams
Brooklyn, NY


Artist’s Statement

Adam's work combines a variety of mediums to craft an animated world populated by pseudo-educational characters and objects related to his experience media at large. A preoccupation with consumer objects and their presumed demographic posturing, particularly in an urban context, informs his practice of reconfiguring familiar items to expose their persuasive and often duplicitous nature. Previous works have updated bogus artifacts such as mass-produced African figurines that, when coated by the artist in brightly colored plastic, are redelivered as superheroes assembled on a game board grid. Viewers are invited to experience “urban wildlife,” in the form of a park spring-ride—but, in his case, the benevolent elephant or seal has been replaced with a more familiar city animal, the rat, and the park is more likely the McDonald’s parking lot. Learning functions as both subject and object in Adam's works that derive from “impressionable experiences associated with iconography from American culture,” gleaned from adults, education, the mall, and “mostly from television.” He fashions a small society within an animated world by scripting performative identities through costumes and environments that are frequently reversed (interior/exterior, front/back), manifesting the two-sided nature of seemingly neutral objects. 

His current body of work incorporates bold black and white text stood in stark contrast against the reality of the duller shades of gray.  The work speaks of fallen empires and childhood impressions.  Of shiny, glittery memories against current muted realities of a broken landscape and those who reside within. Incorporating digital images juxtaposed with elements of hand painted subject matter, glittered surfaces, and vinyl bumper stickers, the work fuses fairytale perceptions with a current need to search for meaning in fragments and artifacts, furnishing “BELIEVE” with an alternate visual experience.

Derrick Adams lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His solo exhibitions include Sometimes I Just Don't Feel Like Myself, Momenta, Brooklyn, NY (2006); I'm Smoke, You're Mirror, PARTICIPANT INC., NY (2005); I'm Sorry, I'm Lost, Marvelli Gallery, NY (2005); Me and My Imaginary Friends, Triple Candie, NY (2004); and The Big Getaway, Jack Tilton Gallery, NY (2003). Adams' group exhibitions include Performa 05, NY; Greater New York, PS1/MOMA; Deutsche Bank, NY; Brooklyn Museum of Art, Brooklyn, NY; Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania; Roebling Hall, NY; Massimo Audiello, NY; Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Centenary Gallery, Camberwell College of Arts, London, UK; L.C. Bates Museum, Hinckley, ME; and UFA Gallery, NY. Adams received his MFA from Columbia University in 2003 and BFA from Pratt Institute in 1996. His awards include The Space Program, Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation, NY; and Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME.

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