For background on the artist and works, see below.
About the ArtistAuckland-based Richard Adams began exhibiting in 1982, abstract paintings in oil on paper or on canvas, finely balanced, often with the surface pared back, scraped away to reveal hidden layers. Adams’ new works have a richness informed not only by his music – he is one of New Zealand’s best known jazz musicians with the Nairobi Trio – but also travels such as in Dubai, where he was inspired by the textures and aged surfaces, and fine colours from the subtle to the intense. In particular he was fascinated by the weathered paintwork on the dhows (boats) and how their history was exposed by a scratch or rubbed surface, revealing the colours of the boat’s earlier life. He sees himself as the guide rather than the master of the brush, and allows the painting to evolve as he works. Richard Adams is well-known as the jazz violinist and frontman for the Nairobi Trio, NZ’s most popular acoustic jazz group, and naturally there’s a very musical rhythm in his work. The music and the painting inspire each other, he says, rather than existing in isolation. Although he has been painting for 20 years, it is in the last decade he has begun to make his mark as a sought-after abstract painter with regular exhibitions in galleries both in New Zealand and overseas.
Adams’ recent works seem to travel towards the light, and consciously explore ideas of early voyagers guided only by the sun and stars, travelling barely charted waters. Often there’s a deep ‘bass’ note in his paintings to balance the lighter elements, and lately he has drawn inspiration more from the intense colours of the New Zealand landscape such as in his Lake Hawea works.
His canvasses tend to convey a musical parallel, while his oils on heavy paper have a subtlety of pared-back expression.
More About the Artist
Richard Adams was born in London in 1957, and worked in film in the 1970s and 1980s in New Zealand. After publishing a book of poems and etchings in 1979, he began exhibiting his paintings in 1982 in Wellington. He has since exhibited in New York, Tokyo, Sydney, London, Dubai as well as around New Zealand in dealer galleries. He co-founded the jazz ensemble The Nairobi Trio – one of New Zealand’s most popular jazz groups which continues to tour this country and overseas on a hectic schedule. However, since the late 1980s he has pursued his painting with increasing dedication and ihas established a growing exhibition profile and following for his work among collectors, viewers and significant art publications.