“Shaping the canvas is meant to question tradition, not abandon it.” – Adam Eddy
Written by Leigh Sabisch, gallery associate, The Southern
Adam Eddy’s work is clean, intentional, and bold; a combination that, when done right, is so very satisfying for both artist and audience. Nothing evokes the same visceral reaction quite like standing in front of a perfectly stretched canvas coated in a flawlessly gradated color. Being an artist of a completely different style, it’s difficult for me to imagine the creation process behind work like this.
Since Eddy is the only artist in the show who painted on irregularly formed, self-constructed canvases, it raises the question as to “why”? To find out, we asked him a few questions about what makes him the artist he is.
Do you remember the moment you realized that painting on standard, flat canvases just wasn’t going to cut it?
I wouldn’t say that standard rectangular canvases don’t ‘cut it’ for me. They are interesting forms on their own loaded with meaning and historical reference. In fact, I hope to get back to them and explore the possibilities. I’m more inclined to say that I’m so interested in the standard flat canvas that it excites me to compromise it and create variations of it. The canvas to me is a sculptural object before a pictorial field. The fact that a rectangle signifies ‘picture’ in western culture interests me. Shaping the canvas is meant to question tradition, not abandon it.
The interaction between color and form in your work is very poignant, what inspires the bold play between the two?
My use of color and form supports this project. This means treating the elements of a painting as building blocks and trying to combine them in ways that surprise me.
From a design/compositional standpoint, what do you think it is about your work that proves the “less is more” mantra to be true?
I guess the ‘less is more’ mantra might apply because I try not to take any formal moves for granted. Narrowing the dramatic scope of my work to basic formal decisions emphasizes a physical relationship to the piece before any narrative reference.
Something that I appreciate in artists’ work is when they acknowledge and pay homage to the history and significance of the pictorial plane. It seems to be something that is widely overlooked, and understanding the art historical uses and meanings behind the painting surface is an incredibly important step in progressing into the contemporary age. There’s a quote that goes something like “you have to understand where you’ve been to know where you’re going”, and although there is probably a smidge of uncertainty (there always is), Adam seems to have a relatively firm grasp on both past and future. We are quite interested in where that is going to take him.