Jonathan LeVine Projects is hosting Jamie Adams' solo debut Blondie Bubba at their Jersey City gallery. Adams’ most recent series, Blondie Bubba, is a group of oil paintings that present the artist’s reconstruction of scenes from his father’s youth. Developed from the rather disparate sources of family folklore, his father’s fading memory, and the artist’s dreams, these narratives have become realized as complicated, layered fictions with images depleted, histories mixed, and characters in a state of flux.
Adams’ characters are rather like portrait projections fashioned from his own archive; from borrowed imagery reminiscent of cinematic culture of the 1960s and 70s, paintings, photos, or vintage books. He constructs his painted images to consciously mirror cinematic tropes—projection, montage, and celebrity personae, as a way to insinuate a kind of complication or disturbance. And Adams exposes his own mechanics using a diversity of visual effects, culling through paint, lens, and screen histories—from painting’s mannerist swirly figures of the Fontainebleau to cinema’s rear projection fantasies. Increasingly their intrusion or mediation affect a redressing of the figural form.
Troubled Bits are smaller paintings of meaty, distressed hands, heads, and feet on prismatic backgrounds. Interspersed throughout this exhibition they serve as a visual break from the Blondie Bubba narrative—much like the persistent interruptions of emergency test patterns while TV viewing.
Adams remarks: “For me painting’s expressive potency is bound up in its bi-locations; the complication of illusion and material presence, and how it at least doubles as actual material presence, but also as the trace residue of a prior one (the artist). It’s not unlike the function of the death mask or how some seek to preserve belief through the physical remains of reliquaries such as the Bursa or Buddhist stupa.”