Home » The little known Harold Adams

The little known Harold Adams

Currently, I am lucky enough to walk past this painting every day.

Adams, H. Untitled. 2004

Adams, H. Untitled. 2004

It’s by the 90 year old Kentucky based artist, Harold Adams. Though represented in several major collections in the USA such as the Wiseman Art Museum, Berea College and the University of Kentucky, I can’t provide a link to any web based information about Adams, as little has been formally written about his work. This is unfortunate as he deserves to be better known – he is master of surface and texture and there is much in his process worth emulating.

Harold Adams believes with every fibre of his being in ‘visual problem solving’. He regards every piece as a visual puzzle that with continual modification and development will eventually evolve into a perfectly composed painting. He never starts a painting without completing it, never abandons any piece for errors or perceived failings of any kind. He says ‘if its not working, fix it’. He’s a man who puts also his money where his mouth is, working on many of his pieces over a period of several years.

He’s an artist who prefers a rag over a brush and the full-trottle materials of oil-based house paint, 2-pack polyurethane and an electric sander. Adams also believes in the power of detail. Not in a pedantic, uptight way – but in the fine-tuning power of adding small adjustments to a piece over a long period of time. He is always looking and assessing – a day in the studio may be dedicated to just looking; never rushing, nor deviating from his process.

Harold Adams in front of his painting.

Harold Adams in front of his painting.

Adams is reluctant to sell or have his work leave his studio as his relationship with each piece is intensely personal. This stems from his original involvement in art when at the age of 69 he enrolled in art school. He was newly retired from a successful obstetric career due to a recent diagnosis of Hepatitis C, an industry health hazard in those days. The story goes that he immediately began working on a series of large paintings of his diseased blood cells. The above work is one of that series.

He continued to ‘paint himself well’ and five years later was given an all-clear diagnosis – an almost unheard of case of eradication of Hepatitis C without any kind of drug therapy or medical intervention. Every single piece he paints is a self narrative of some kind – personal, abstract and highly evocative.

Adams has worked religiously every day since that time creating abstract modernist works unique in process, subject and style. Such as interesting artist and one worth looking out for.

2 Responses to “The little known Harold Adams”

  1. Beverley Wilson says:

    Amazing artist… His work inspires and amazes me… Also a wonderful man that it is my privilege to know!

  2. I love that photo of Harold! He is an inspiration and amazingly powerful artist!

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