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Shane McAdams
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland, Oregon
Recommendation by Richard Speer

Shane MacAdams, "Chinle Arroyo," oil on expanded polystyrene mounted on panel, 24 x 24"


Continuing through April 26,2014

There are three main reasons why Brooklyn, New York-based artist Shane McAdams has titled his new exhibition “Scorched Earth.” First is the material rationale, that his paintings are literally scorched into “expanded polystyrene,” which means blowtorched Styrofoam. Second, the paintings reference the sun-scorched, arid landscapes of the desert of the American Southwest, where the artist grew up. Third and most obliquely, they reference his environmental concerns, which are every bit as much linguistic as political.

In an email interview with VAS, McAdams clarified he is concerned with “the semantics around the terms ‘natural’ and ‘artificial’ or ‘natural’ and ‘cultural.’  I think sorting out the language problems and decoding these issues is as important to sorting out the environment as are passion, indignation, outrage, and so on.”  In works such as “Chinle Arroyo,” McAdams frames desert landscapes within organic, bacterium-like forms, while in “Thaw” and “Paint Rake 2,” he incorporates rainbow stripes as gently ironic counterpoints to otherwise desolate scenes.  Using Elmer’s glue, correction fluid, ballpoint pen, resin and oil paint, he conjures visions both idyllic and apocalyptic in a compellingly eerie style.

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