LOREN D. ADAMS, JR.
"The dream awake is the same as the dream asleep."
Loren Adams is a man known for his translucent waves and intellectually provocative, surreal, land and seascapes. His paintings possess a quality that transcends time and space. They seem to be neither of the future nor of the past-they are like his waves, an onrushing reality.
Born well inland in Linton, Indiana, on September 28th, 1945, his infatuation with the sea started at about age six when his family moved to California. Their young Loren became spellbound by the Pacific Ocean. He remembers being "frightened, terrified, exhilarated and thrilled" by he first exposure to this mighty expanse, yet most of all he wanted to paint it.
Like a character in a Faulkner novel, whose life changes in a single instant, he remembers being transformed by this initial contact with the sea. "My senses became aware of everything around me at that moment. I had no idea until this one moment. I was awake to the grandeur and immensity of the power that was there."
Loren's early life centered on music, art and religion. There were the normal childhood pursuits, but being the eldest he felt a lot of responsibility. His grandmother, a violin and piano teacher, was a strong influence on the family. She fostered the beginnings of Loren's lifelong love of music. It was she who bought his first accordion, with which he went on to become recognized as a child prodigy. His father, Loren Adams, Sr. "Ace" was an aerospace engineer and had his own Dixieland jazz band for many years; His current peacetime projection is publishing music.
The young artist was educated in religious schools and when he was older he studied for the seminary. He was also teaching music, but it was art that gave him satisfaction. Working as an orderly in a Northern California hospital while attending the seminary, he sold his first painting to the nurse in charge. He quit his job the very next day and never looked back. "I realized it was a matter of either going for it or not going for it; so I decided to go for it. "
Adams' early training came from the Famous Artists School. At 13 years of age, he was one of the young people who saw the ad for the school in the back of the comic book and sent in his drawing of their "Lumber Jack." He was immediately accepted into the program, but quit when he found that Norman Rockwell was not going to be his teacher. He did save the course books though, and even began collecting them, using them to teach himself to draw and paint.
Loren Adams is already the recognized master of the seascape, possibly the greatest seascape artist of this century. He's painted his way up and down the entire Pacific coast from Mexico to British Columbia. He knows the changing imprint of the Pacific Ocean on its shoreline the way some people know their easy chair.
"I began to challenge this wave. I used to spend hours watching all the little parts of it, then I began drawing it and making graphs of it. I charted it in motion in little squares as though it were a sculpture moving and found that I could predetermine its positions by studying them."
He tries to show the motion of the wave as it rolls onto the shore, "...at the same time showing what it looked like before. Part of the technique is the way I paint something the way it was, and then another sequence at the same them optically overlaps where it is now and where it's going to be. So you see the wave in each position simultaneously. When you walk by, it looks like it's moving."
For this ability to express the many and varying moods of the ocean Loren has gained an international reputation. His work has been the subject of numerous magazine articles and museum shows and is featured in some very notable private collections. Many awards and accolades have come Adams' way because of his artistry, including recognition in Men of Achievement, a European Who's Who. Though he is still a young man, there have already been several retrospectives of his work, the most important by the R.W. Norton Art Foundation of Shreveport, Louisiana.
The influence of Salvador Dali on Loren has been immeasurable. He compares Dali to Leonardo Da Vinci. "I don't think that eight other people have lived throughout the history of the modern world, as we know it, that have done as much creatively as Dali did." Loren feels that Dali single-handedly saved the modern art movement. He established himself as the most elegant thinker of the 20th century." * *
The artist says of Dali's work, "my exposure to it made every seascape I'd ever done second-world in comparison to what I knew that I could now do," or, said another way, "when you expose a really talented person to a lot of really great art, it's like taking them into a mother ship and lifting them up into a new world."
Anyone who's ever marveled at the sea will be awed by the way Loren Adams is able to capture its many moods and hold them fast on his canvas. His shimmering waves, enhanced by reflective materials such as titanium or crushed pearls, still make his oceans come alive. Only now it's the heightened intellectual stimulation with subtle "hidden treasures" of information about ancient cultures, celestial and extraterrestrial visitations that hold the viewer's imagination.
When asked where these images come from, Loren responded, "I have no idea; I always have to say that they come from God. It can start by just staring at the white canvas. When all is ready and the medium and the palette are all mixed, then suddenly it's time and the image comes."
"I start off longing for the image that I see; when the image is present, then I can let off on the pressure. I put the pressure on myself to cause the image to come into existence and I let off the pressure finally when the image appears."
He's been known to work for up to 92 hours at a stretch, running on his energy reserves. "I get thinner, but that doesn't seem to matter. I truly believe that it can't hurt you if you are really enthralled and having a wonderful time. Even though under normal conditions the stress from work can make you tired and worn out, it seems to empower me."
For art to be in the highest category of Fine Art, Adams' believes that it must have, "intellectual stimulation, mathematical perfection, historical significance, and of course, technical excellence. " It has been said that "it's very rare to see an artist with this type of vision who is able to express it with the level of Loren's expertise."
As meticulous a painter as the old masters he admires, Loren Adams aims for perfection with each brushstroke. He never uses photographs, but paints from memory, with an attention to detail that is enviable. He resists all attempts to mass-produce his work, believing each piece should be unique. He feels the people who are drawn to his art are special, almost as if each painting has a predestined owner. "There is a responsibility to owning fine art; my collectors know that I think of the art as being held in sacred trust for the future."
Loren feels, despite his long history of success and acclaim, that he is right now creating the most important paintings and art objects been completed in his life to date.
The artist is not prolific; the tremendous amount of time, energy and technical skill required to execute the intricate detail in his multi-dimensional works dictates that only 12 to 15 major works are created in a year's time; 1 to 3 of these may meet Adams' critical standards and be termed Masterworks. He prefers to work slowly, often developing his ideas through studies until his concepts for an important work are fully realized.
A brief look at one of his paintings will reveal that Loren D Adams, Jr. is a deep and perceptive human being. His interests, aside from painting, cover theology music and "preventive crime maintenance." He also studies fine art identification, is versed in the 20th century masters, and is involved in two think tanks that ponder various social issues.
Adams is an artist who pays attention. He is a lover of the natural world, and approaches painting with a reverence for light, color and detail, dependably portraying nature at her finest. To varying degrees the sea, or a significant body of water, is ever present in each of his works. Waves with a delicate translucence move through mystical oceans. Light is used to create rapturous moments as Adams deftly orchestrates majestic scenes and visions. Over a period of years Adams has refined and perfected his technique, and has developed a reputation for excellence.
Looking through a retrospective collection of Adams' work, it is obvious he reached a level of technical excellence that left him nowhere to go but "through." By the early 1980's his art entered a new dimension with the "Accelerated Evolution Series." Adams took a step from a grand and magnificent realism into a world that seems to exist just slightly beyond our normal perception. He calls this artistic genre "Classic Surrealism," and the best of these works, the ones that reach a universal perspective, he calls "Nuclear Mysticism," based on Salvador Dali's Fifty Secrets of magic Craftsmanship. and his Mystic Manifesto written in 1951. In Dali's nuclear works, "disintegration of form into particles is shown as spiritual continuity when matter ends."
The Accelerated Evolution works are filled with symbolism from all ages, revealing the artist's own fascination with archeology and ancient cultures, religions and sacred writings. Many of his images seem to be generated from a dimension very close to our daily reality; elements of the pictures are easily recognizable and make one feel at home, although there is a vague sense that we are witnessing something extraordinary. "The Augmented Sea..." and "Telos Mu" are classic examples of this particular phenomenon.
Adams is a true seeker of perfection in every sense of the word. Not content with second best, he pushes himself to attain the ultimate in a any medium. He feels his most important quote to the art world is, "Once you know what's in the top drawer, who in the hell wants to be in the second drawer?"
He is a very exacting painter who believes that "...a painting is only as beautiful as a single brush stroke." Planning his paintings meticulously, he sees them completed in his mind before he even lifts a brush. At times he feels as if he's only the instrument of a creative force painting through him. "I'm lucky enough to be the guy who holds the brush."
To illustrate his point Adams says, "...a paining is a song made visible one sour note would spoil a symphony." In typical Adams style, the artist is an accomplished musician. he continually finds correlation's between color and music, and points out that each note on a musical scale vibrates at a frequency that corresponds with a color on the chromatic scale. In other words, each tone has it's own color.
Adams is continually synthesizing information from his various interests to provide inspiration and substance for his paintings. He is a pure artist, approaching each work with a curious combination of wisdom and child-like innocence.
To him, an artist has a right and a responsibility to paint what he feels, and he fiercely defends and upholds that right. He and his wife, Patricia, spend considerable amounts of time researching and investigating statutes and laws that define and protect fine artists and their works.
"I think of my paintings as having a life separate from my own and a destiny independent from my own. I am pleased that quite a few museums have shown my works and several have purchased them. I think of the longevity of the art, and my collectors know that I think of the art as being held in sacred trust for the future. There is a responsibility attached to collecting Fine Art that is undeniable. "
He views his works almost like they were his children, and is very reluctant to part with them. He feels that for someone to buy one of his paintings "...they have to want it more than I do. My paintings are like spiritual children to me; my collectors don 't acquire, they adopt."
The limited editions that he does release are done in Cibachrome, which is a highly accurate photographic process that yields full intensity of color and image, and is more color fast than traditional print material. Loren embellishes each print with original handwork to elevate its status to a higher category and to meet his exacting standards. Limited edition collectors often go on waiting lists for 3 to 4 months. Commissions for oil paintings often take 12 to 18 months.
Loren lists among his artistic influences: The old masters, and the renaissance masters, Raphael, Vermeer, Velazquez, and Van Eycke, and also, Paul Klee, Vasarely, Aivazovsky, J. M. W. Turner, Members of the Hudson River School, particularly Fredrich Church and Albert Bierdstadt, and finally the Surrealists, Salvador Dali, Magritte, and Escher.
Having established his place in history, Loren plans to expand beyond the realm of paper and canvas to other mediums: silks, jewelry, tapestries, textiles, objets d'art. "You want to create something that is only found in that medium and nowhere else in nature-then it is art." To excel in all mediums?;-Why not? Because, as the artist says, "If you don't dream big, it damn for sure won't happen.
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