Zacron writes about the work of Norman Adams RA
Norman Adams RA is the gentle giant of art. Never in this year of the artist has there been a more appropriate time for this work to come to public attention. Adams' huge watercolors speak with considerable gravity and must be seen. While large segments of the art establishment cultivate an inverted intellectual snobbery against fine art, artists like Adams break the web of prejudice, by exercising a right to paint simply what is meaningful to him.
Norman Adams feels that spiritual man is the real being, that the corporeal man is but the tip of iceberg. His use of the word religion in the singular is perhaps too confining, certainly he derives nutrition from stories, meanings, and moralities that have a spiritual source. "I think that art is about life, about people, about living."
He feels that moments of real inspiration offer an intensified realization that we have control only over the superficial. The work is sophisticated, an orchestrated visual language. Childlike qualities in the drawing heighten pathos, a sense of the apocalyptic.
Earlier works like Olive Trees (1981) sustained an interactive visual dance between marks and spaces. Mountain Gorge bordered by a road (c1630) by Hercules Seghers, (admired by Rembrandt) and drawings (c1964) by Stuart Sutcliffe (the fifth Beatle) provide a compelling comparison.
The works at Gissing are monumental, environmental, intense colour used to manipulate space. After Blenheim, a Famous Victory and De Profundis, evoke the more secular Edward Burra 1905-76, even H R Giger's Design for Alien.
Working on vast sheets of 200 GSM Waterman's paper the artist searches out a composition, the thin pencil line fortified with diluted acrylic medium is used to stop out colour.
In Requiem for a Dying God – first world war planes like bloodied crosses fuse beneath a decaying rainbow, iridescent spheres hover as angels in attendance.
As a child, Adams was terrified by Victorian prints in his grandparents house, he thought then that religion was death obsessed. 'Out of the deep I cried to Thee'. A great dark mask like face, camellian eyes, a grimacing bleeding mouth, sunk in an abyss. "I am more often driven by a great sinister shadow behind me, than led by a bright shining star ahead." (1980).
Beneath a veil of beauty Norman Adams issues a warning for our new Century.
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