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Jim Adams
Centurion (Self Portrait), 1977
Acrylic on canvas
50 x 74.25 in.

A well-known and well-loved Surrey-based artist is launching the biggest exhibition of his career. Explore five decades’ worth of Jim Adams' artmaking in Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment. His paintings often combine historical events with speculative futures, real people in imagined situations, and mythological people in contemporary scenarios.

A strong sense of narrative tension infuses Adams’s landscapes and portraits. A Japanese bride is on her way to get married less than a minute after the first atomic bomb is dropped. A contrail is faintly visible in the sky overhead. Other paintings envision a peaceful last evening before a meteor streaks across the sky. Locals enjoy their drinks in a White Rock Starbucks as the blue and red lights of a patrol car are reflected in the window. Adams says, “I’m always looking for the irretrievable moment where you’re committed to the action but the action hasn’t actually happened yet.”

In addition to these dramatic and, in some cases, more ominous works, Adams also does humorous paintings. His UFO fragment series inserts 3D objects like pencils, photographic negatives, and newspaper clippings into idyllic suburban landscapes.

Drawing from influences as diverse as late twentieth-century comics and science fiction to European Romantic landscape painting, classical myth, and African-American history, Adams’s art probes a number of themes including the hidden dramas of suburbia, the encroachment of military culture on everyday life, and the effects of technology and consumerism on young male identity.

In Adams’ art, moments from the past can’t be reclaimed, only partially glimpsed and transformed into something new in the realization  of the artwork.

Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment is a two-part retrospective exhibition developed with The Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford. The exhibition brings together an unprecedented selection of the artist’s work from over five decades of artmaking, including many never-before seen artworks. The Reach Gallery Museum will focus on Adam’s combined use of mythology, youth culture, and science fiction from the last two decades of his practice. It will run in Abbotsford from May 25 to September 3.

View exhibition catalogue. For more information about the exhibition visit the City of Surrey Art Gallery.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)

Installation View of Jim Adams: The Irretrievable Moment (2017)
Surrey Art Gallery / The Reach Gallery Museum Abbotsford
​Photo by Scott Massey.

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