Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery

Photo by Gerald Holly

Nashville, TN



Ron Adams, Master Printmaker: A Survey of Work, 1984-1999


The Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery will continue its spring exhibition schedule with an exhibition highlighting the past fourteen years of the career of African American artist, Ron Adams. Ron Adams, Master Printmaker: A Survey of Work, 1984-1999 opens on Thursday, February 10 at the Vanderbilt University Fine Arts Gallery with a reception honoring the artist from 5 to 7:30 p.m., and will continue through Sunday, March 19, 2000. Concurrent with the opening reception, the artist will deliver a lecture entitled Recollections of a Master Printer at 5 p.m. in Room 206 of the Fine Arts Building. The opening reception and lecture are free and the public is invited to attend. This exhibition is being held to coincide with Black History Month. (left: Neptune Washington, 1996, lithograph, 30 x 22 inches, Courtesy of the artist)

Organized by Nashville's James Rutherford, Ron Adams, Master Printmaker will examine graphics by Adams himself, works characterized by insightful depictions of African Americans, while also including a selection of work that he participated in as master printmaker. This will be the first in-depth survey of Adams' work in almost a decade.

The life of Ron Adams has from his youth been inexorably linked to the graphic arts. Born in 1934 in Detroit, Adams studied drawing, technical illustration, and commercial art at a broad range of schools, primarily located in Los Angeles. It was in Los Angeles at the age of 29 that he began working at the esteemed graphic workshop, Gemini G.E.L.. Beginning his tenure as an assistant printer, Adams soon received the honor of Master Printer and the opportunity to work with many leading contemporary artists including Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg, Frank Stella, and Ellsworth Kelly. In 1973, he left Los Angeles For Editions Press in San Francisco before moving to Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he opened Hand Graphics the following year. There he collaborated with such artists as Judy Chicago, Luis Jimenez, John Biggers, and Charles White (selections from these projects will be featured in this exhibition). After thirteen years as owner and director of Hand Graphics, Adams sold the business in 1987 to turn exclusively to producing his own art. (right: Profile in Blue, 1989, lithograph, 46 x 36 inches, Courtesy of the artist)

Joseph Mella, art curator for the Fine Arts Gallery notes that "Adams has distinguished himself three-fold: as a master printer of the highest order, as a successful business person in a kind of business that is more prone to failure than success, and as a strong graphic artist who has given us some of the most powerful images of African Americans of our time."

Adams has been honored with over 40 exhibitions. He has served as curator, artist in residence, and guest instructor at many institutions. Adams has participated on panel discussions on the arts and printmaking and has served as art commissioner for the state of New Mexico. His work is held in many public and private collections that includes: National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian, Washington D.C., Museum of Fine Arts, Santa Fe; Museum of New Mexico, Santa Fe; Bronx Museum, Bronx, New York; and the Museum of Art, University of Arizona, Tucson.

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rev. 10/20/10

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