“Working as a sculptor and painter, I explore my experience of the land and seascapes of Scotland as well as the people, animals and objects that inhabit them, often highlighting tensions in their relationships with each other and with the landscape itself. I work from memories of such places, drawing upon a narrative within. This allows me to build a composition around a theme - the title will as often inform the work as the other way round. The perspectives in my work are the perspectives of memory, in which different stages of a narrative may be seen simultaneously or a scene may be viewed from above as if in a dream or a map.
My paintings attempt to evoke an immediacy - a pencil sketch is succeeded by washes of quick drying acrylic paint, allowing me to build up translucent areas of colour. Often the pencil outline of the painting is allowed to show through, creating an almost graphic account of the subject. I try to limit my palette to only a few colours - this helps reinforce the simplicity of form, in turn creating a balanced and rhythmic composition.
My steel sculptures identify with my paintings in that shared themes are explored and perspective is distorted. Pieces of steel are riveted to a forged armature, building a contour. As the viewer moves around the work, a slim profile gives way to a ‘metal tapestry’; different aspects of the story are revealed.
The influences within my work draw mostly upon Expressionism, Folk and British Naïve Art from the early and mid-20th century. As a trained artist the challenge I face is to ‘unlearn’ and let go of the constraints while benefiting from the technical control that a formal training brings. I hope to engage the viewer and provoke an interaction with the work, unleashing a once dormant childhood appreciation or stirring a haunting memory within.”
JAMES NEWTON ADAMS