Clinton Adams: A 52-Year Retrospective

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In the 1940s and 1950s, CLINTON ADAMS was well known in Los Angeles for his paintings in oil, egg tempera and watercolor
- media that he has continued to use throughout the years with poetic sensitivity and confidence. After 1948, when Adams was
introduced to the lithographic stone by master printer Lynton R. Kistler, the lithograph assumed equal importance in his work as
a medium of expression. In this exhibition, Water Taxi (1946), egg tempera on panel, and his luminous lithograph, Melon Slice (1949), are works from that period.

Adams's clean, architectonic forms lead us into his structures. In the ink drawing Study for Second Hand Store, and the lithograph Second Hand Store II (1953), his geometric 'framing' gives us a glimpse of recognizable, yet abstracted, elements in complex interaction. His Window Series, lithographs drawn on stones at Tamarind in 1960, comprises ten haunting variations on a single theme....a landscape beyond the window, an ambiguous still life in the foreground.

In the muted tones of Still Life with Western Landscape (1959) and Monument (1960) and the radiant color of his more recent work - Return to Collioure (1997) and Seashore Still Life (1998) - we see how Clinton Adams is influenced by natural environments: the dramatic isolation of New Mexico mesas and the shimmering light of the Mediterranean and Caribbean waters.

As artist - and writer and curator and critic - Adams has contributed to art history in many ways. In the catalogue for "CLINTON ADAMS:Twenty-five Lithographs from Fifty Years", a travelling exhibition presently in its final venue at the Long Beach Museum of Art (January 15th to March 28th, 1999), David Acton writes that "In the course of the twentieth century, no one has had a more diverse and profound effect on the field of American lithography than Clinton Adams". In Long Beach, the focus is exclusively on his lithographs, while here they are seen in the context of his paintings, watercolors and drawings.

Clinton Adams was born in Glendale in 1918. After study at UCLA before WWII, he taught painting there from 1946 to 1954. In 1960 he joined June Wayne to found the Tamarind Lithography Workshop here in Los Angeles. Tamarind was unique; it was formed to create a venue for training fine art printers in lithography and to invite the exploration of the medium by renowned artists. In 1970, after Tamarind relocated from Los Angeles to Albuquerque, where Adams was professor and dean at the University of New Mexico, he became its director. 'Emeritus' since 1985, he now devotes himself exclusively to painting, printmaking and writing.

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