Art Projects Gallery is proud to present “Chasing Light – The Ethereal Realms of Neal Adams” opening on 15 September 2012 through to 27 Oct 2012. This will be British contemporary artist, Neal Adams’s first solo exhibition in Hong Kong.
Neal’s talent in drawing and painting was apparent from a very young age. His obsession for art saw him gained firm grounding in art history and painting techniques during his early artistic development from time spent intensively studying the works of great masters at the National Gallery of London and under the private tutelage of Professor James Turner (Wimbledon School of Art) in drawing and traditional painting techniques. The same burning passion and an unwavering quest for artistic breakthrough inspired Neal’s move to Bali in 2003.
Like the numerous foreign artists before him, most notably the likes of Adrien-Jean Le Mayeur de Mepres, Theo Meier, Lee Man Fong and Arie Smit, Neal was drawn to Bali’s spiritual energy, rich culture and enchanting natural landscapes. Indeed, the move to Bali marked a turning point in Neal’s artistic career, which inspired him to invent his own technique of fusing traditional gold leaf painting and mixed-media. The gold leaf is used by the Balinese to embellish their temples and ceremonial batik textiles, embodying important religious significance in the local culture. It was also used in Medieval Europe in illuminated manuscripts and also developed by the Austrian artist, Gustav Klimt in his masterpieces such as “The Kiss” (1907-1908). Thus, the use of gold leaf could be a subconscious effort by the artist to integrate his Western background with his newfound Asian influence. To Neal, “Gold is God’s color” and therefore it could be the universal element that transcends all boundaries, an aspect that the artist would like to achieve in his art.
Neal starts each painting by applying ultra-thin foils of precious metals of gold and silver onto primed canvases. Upon this lustrous surface of carefully layered foil, Neal renders the subject matter in acrylic finished with oil glazing, creating textural and color contrasts between the two mediums. He adds more layers of foil, paint and translucent lacquers painstakingly until it reaches the desired effect and richness envisioned by the artist.
Using the reflective quality of the metallic mixed-medium, together with the interplay of depth of fields, shadows and scale, the artist evokes dramatic landscapes that borders between the real and the ethereal. The viewer is teleported to the naturalistic sanctuary that the artist has so masterfully created, be it a woodland, a bamboo forest or a tropical paradise; recurring themes and motifs in the artist’s paintings through which he sees as a means to celebrate the beauty of nature and the human spirit.
Neal’s paintings have a strong following in the United States of America, having had commissions and successful exhibitions in Hawaii, California and Texas. He has also been exhibited in England and Indonesia and his works have been auctioned at the Masterpiece Auction House in Jakarta.