Mark Adams: An Expedition

“Expedition” an exhibition by Mark Adams  was on view September 29-November 12, 2017 at the Provincetown Art Association and Museum in Provincetown, MA.

Central to the installation was a 25 x 30 foot seafloor map of the Gulf of Maine. The immersive experience of the map: the Gulf of Maine Seafloor (at a mile per inch, 10 miles per footstep or about 1:63,360), derived from the opportunity to walk across it and experience the scale, orientation and sense of place that was an encompassing experience. Navigating the installation evoked mariner’s courses as attested by local fishermen who recounted stories standing on the “ridges” and “basins” splashed in ink on the floor. 

Based on NOAA navigation charts, Adams painted the seafloor depths, latitude and longitude in ink on mylar film printed on sheets of adhesive floor vinyl. This print was exhibited at the Provincetown Art Association Museum in 2017. The map is a safe durable application on which visitors can walk and explore, hold classes and talks and recline and contemplate. An 8x10 foot ship’s cabin was assembled nearby where museum-goers could view original charts and some of Adams collection of travel sketchbooks. (The cabin’s layout was based on Charles Darwin’s cabin on the HMS Beagle with hammock, chart table, collections and library.) 

The map can be reprinted at various sizes and scales for a variety of public exhibition spaces and is rated to withstand months/years of traffic. Similar maps of other water bodies are contemplated for other regions. Surrounding the map and cabin was a selection of retrospective painting and prints on wood, paper and panels. The surface is slip-proof and completely accessible to visitors with any level of mobility. A 3D digitally enhanced augmented reality experience is also proposed where headsets or cell-phones would portray transparent overlays of changing ocean temperatures, currents and/or tides in real time as they walk through the map.

Active use of the installation is integral to its fulfillment and realization. Successful outcomes would include classes, talks and guided activities, appropriation by partner organizations and modifications in place. Science/story annotations, performance pieces and community forums might 

The exhibition speaks to three themes and is designed to travel to different locations, in formats modified to be relevant locally. 

First, the exhibition is an important discussion of how artwork functions culturally, confronting how objects represent reality and how Adams’ chosen objects channel the use of data globally to represent knowledge that has been directly measured and observed. It is also about collecting and gathering, opening the landscape to interaction and interjection in a shared community of participants. These interjections can include everything from ways of looking and seeing, how people live with objects, and the changing culture of language and technology, leading to new ways that information is requested and received.

Next, it presents a contemporary approach to fine art that encompasses drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, media and data. This exhibition is also an important discussion of how artwork and art-spaces function in the culture, including ideas about the state of painting today. Specifically we will see in Adams work how the focus on originality as a goal for painters has shifted toward a new embrace of ideas, materials and objects that are already in circulation into their work. 

And last, ‘Expedition’ as seen at PAM was a mid-career retrospective for a unique and important Provincetown artist that has been practicing and teaching for 28 years. The show suggests that the entirety of the cultural landscape has replaced the canvas as the place where marks are made and decisions are executed. Mark Adams’ essential point of view borrows from collaborations and sources from within the Outer Cape’s familiar and well-loved vernacular of resonant objects, data and mapped geography, including indigenous plants and animals.

Mark Adams is a painter, printmaker, and a cartographer with the National Park Service. He works primarily on paper and wood using images based on observations of nature, scientific data recorded alongside personal writing in sketchbooks, and the human figure. Adams has taught at The Museum School at PAAM, Castle Hill Center for the Arts (Truro, MA), and the Provincetown School Academy program and as a guest in the MFA program of the Fine Arts Work Center/Massachusetts College of Art, Princeton University and the Rhode Island School of Design. He has studied ecology, landscape architecture, printmaking and photography at University of California, Berkeley, California College of the Arts and studied with artists at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He also worked as a wildlife field biologist, scientific illustrator, forest fire fighter, gymnastics coach. His current interests include geologic time, taxonomies, coordinate systems and layering of information in maps. He has exhibits regularly at the Schoolhouse Gallery, where he is represented. He lives and works on Cape Cod where he has been based for over 25 years.

Adams states: “The powers of observation deployed by artists and scientists are crucial to navigating the chaos of the future. Looking at the planet as a lifeboat in which we are adrift together – capturing clues about where we are, navigating and foraging in a sea full of remnants of past abundance. We settle for surrogates of nature, but our fulfillment requires authentic things. We will survive shrewdly with memories of our losses: the evolved world hollowed out and wiped clean, waiting for time to rebuild some strange new order.”

 

INDIVIDUAL ARTWORKS

 

May 2017:  Mark Adams Exhibitions Opens This September at Provincetown Art Association and Museum

Provincetown, MA: The public is warmly invited to a free celebratory reception for an exhibition of work by Provincetown artist Mark Adams at Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) on Friday, September 29 at 8pm. Curated by Breon Dunigan and Joe Fiorello, this exhibition is on view September 29-November 12, 2017.

Mark Adams is a painter, printmaker, and a cartographer with the National Park Service. He works primarily on paper and wood using images based on observations of nature, scientific data recorded alongside personal writing in sketchbooks, and the human figure.
Adams has taught at PAAM, Castle Hill Center for the Arts (Truro MA), and the Provincetown School Academy program and as a guest in the MFA program of the Fine Arts Work Center/Massachusetts College of Art. He has studied ecology, landscape architecture, printmaking and photography at University of California, Berkeley, California College of Arts and Crafts and studied with artists at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. He also worked as a wildlife field biologist, scientific illustrator, forest fire fighter, gymnastics coach. His current interests include geologic time, taxonomies, coordinate systems and layering of information in maps.
He has exhibited throughout the US and regularly at the Schoolhouse Gallery, where he is represented. He lives and works on Cape Cod where he has been based for over 25 years.

The exhibition will present three themes: first, it is a mid-career retrospective for a unique and important Provincetown artist that has been practicing and teaching on the Outer Cape for 27 years. Next, it is a presentation of high quality fine art including drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, media and data. And last, it is an important discussion of how artwork functions in the culture including ideas about collecting and gathering, artist’s collectives, opening the landscape to interaction and interjection, how objects represent reality and how Adams’ interpretation of the function of objects from the Outer Cape vernacular relate to how artists are currently interpreting the use of objects and data globally.

Adams states: “The powers of observation deployed by artists and scientists are crucial to navigating the chaos of the future. Looking at the planet as a lifeboat in which we are adrift together – capturing clues about where we are, navigating and foraging in a sea full of remnants of past abundance. We settle for surrogates of nature, but our fulfillment requires authentic things. We will survive shrewdly with memories of our losses: the evolved world hollowed out and wiped clean, waiting for time to rebuild some strange new order.”
Provincetown Art Association and Museum was established in 1914 by a group of artists and townspeople to build a permanent collection of works by artists of outer Cape Cod, and to exhibit art that would allow for unification within the community. Through a comprehensive schedule of exhibitions of local and national significance and educational outreach, Provincetown Art Association and Museum provides the public access to art, artists, and the creative process.

The PAAM Membership is a vibrant community of over 1,800 individuals. Whether you’re an artist or you simply love the arts, a PAAM Membership opens the door to programs and events that enrich and inspire.

PAAM, located at 460 Commercial Street, is open Thursday through Sunday, 12-5pm, October – May; and daily at 11am, May – September. General admission $10, with free admission for members and children 12 and under, and to the public on Fridays after 5pm. For more information, please call 508.487.1750 or visit www.paam.org.