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  • Emily Van Cleve

Reimagining the Western Landscape

Santa Fe Arts Journal

October 8, 2017

by Emily Van Cleve

Adam Scott, Terraform 13 - Moon Moth, 2017, Acrylic on canvas, 70" x 70"

Joshua Tree National Park inspired Adam Scott's recent work

In “Terraforms: New Paintings,” which opens at David Richard Gallery on October 13, Chicago-based artist Adam Scott showcases work inspired by month-long visits to Joshua Tree National Park in California.

“My wife and I have been traveling to Joshua Tree every winter break since 2011 to get some sun in our lives,” explains Scott, a professor at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago who earned his bachelor’s degree at California State University Long Beach and moved to Chicago 20 years ago to work on his master’s degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. “We grew up in California so we’re really West Coast people. The West is in our hearts and minds.”

An abstract painter who describes himself as an artist who was “weaned on modern painting,” Scott has always been fascinated by landscape and place.

Fifteen years ago he incorporated digital media into his paintings. Today, he’s interested in involving his hands in every aspect of the creative process.

“I’ve loved walking in Joshua Tree’s valleys, running my hands across the rocks that look like they’re from outer space,” he says. “I’ve made drawings with charcoal and graphite on site and used them as reference for paintings that I create in my Chicago studio. In a way, these works are a mixture of Joshua Tree and Chicago.”

Scott views his recent paintings as visual distillations of observed geologic phenomena and enjoys coupling his distillations with his interest in the utopic and dystopic aspects of science fiction to create work that reimagines the Western landscape.

“I’m interested in making paintings that speak a sculptural language within a compressed two-dimensional abstracted pictorial space,” says Scott. “I see my work as micro-sculpture that hinges on the brink of the pictorial.”

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