The Impossible Garden 20BC - a monoprint commission for Isis Two

Text by Neal Brown

Harry Adams is the name of the artistic partnership between Steven Lowe and Adam Wood. Although the two artists have collaborated together closely since meeting at art school in 1988, where they studied painting, they only chose the presentational construct of Harry Adams in 2008. Despite their training as painters, their early collaborative projects were loud musical ones, since when they have engaged in many diverse activities including painting, drawing, film, performance, printmaking, photography, digital montage and poster design. At college, they had wanted to be assessed for their degrees on the basis of a joint show, a performance they had both devised. But they were not allowed to do this, and had to give two separate performances, under their own individual names, for separate assessment. Although the performances were effectively the same, one artist was passed and the other was failed. This occasion was an important moment for them, making ideas of success and failure seem redundant, and has since played a defining role in their outlook. It has led to an indifference to - or defiance of - the received ideas that seek to determine whether an artist is doing well or badly - a position that is consistent with their theme of creative non-finality as opposed to a career identity.

Ideas of creation and destruction are central to the paintings, with whose themes we are familiar from our experience of the heavens and the utopias, the hells and apocalypses, of mythico-religious art from all times and all places. Within Harry Adams’ paintings there is a belief and disbelief, beauty and ugliness, order and disorder, dirt and cleanliness, and ecstasy and dysphoria. He summons and combines these polarities as dualities or paradoxes of discord and unity, and then evades tidy meanings, or deliberately misplaces conclusion. Saints are made grubby and grubby things are made beautiful, and ideas of love and beauty and holiness are recombined. He disrupts the perfectionism or absolutism of paintings by other artists, while ensuring that his interpretations are also homages to that absolutism or perfectionism. Huge architectural monoliths are depicted, whose important survival or cultural functions, as repositories, have their already complex meanings disrupted in further ambiguities of moral scale.

It is, in many ways, a romantic project, which honours the creative spirit of the painter as having, like the poet, a special closeness to an ecstatic knowledge.

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013), Harry Adams

Six Colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White

Edition of 13 with 2 Artist Proofs

£135 + VAT each

The Impossible Garden 20 BC is drawn/traced from the reproduction of a painting by Harry Adams titled The Garden Behind the Wall 20 BC. This painting in turn is based on a section of a fresco that adorned the walls of  a room in Villa di Livia just outside Rome. Built in 20 BC this villa formed part of the Livia Drusilla’s dowry when she married Emperor Augustus and was opulently decorated  in a fashion suited to this elite dynasty. The fresco of the garden formed a grand illusion, an extended and exaggerated reality: covering all four walls and expanding the space to the naturalistic image of a wall and garden beyond. The garden is full of exotic birds and animals and is impossibly flowering and fruiting all at once. 

Each monoprint is unique. 

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
1/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
2/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
3/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
4/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
5/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
6/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
7/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
8/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
9/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
10/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
11/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
12/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
13/13

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
AP1

The Impossible Garden 20 BC (2013)
6 colour mono print with spirit wash on Somerset White
56 x 76 cm
AP2
SOLD

 

 

Please contact john@isisgallery.com for further information

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