Yura Adams is a painter and installation artist who imagines a world drawn from the poetry of nature in her work. She paints in one corner of an industrial building on a farm in Western Massachusetts.
Adams currently is exhibiting her first solo show of painting in New York City last week at Olympia Gallery on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She was presented at NADA New York Art Fair by Olympia, May 2022, and recently exhibited at LABspace, Hillsdale, New York, August-September 2022 in a four-person show. April 2023, Yura Adams will show her work at Turley Gallery in Hudson New York.
Awards include a grant from the Peter S Reed Foundation (through nomination 2022), Drawing Center Viewing Program (2021), Pollock-Krasner Grant (2019), Martha Boschen Porter Fund, Berkshire Taconic Foundation (2017), New York State Council on the Arts (individual artist grant 2010), New York Foundation of the Arts Mark Program (2009) and National Endowment for the Arts (individual artist grant, New Genres1985).
Adams has an extensive exhibition record throughout the Hudson Valley with many solo shows with John Davis Gallery of Hudson, New York and other venues including Opalka Gallery in Albany, New York. In the early part of her career in New York, she presented her work in locations such as Just Above Midtown, City Gallery, New Museum, Experimental Intermedia, Franklin Furnace, and FOTO Gallery. Her degrees were both earned at the San Francisco Art Institute: 1975 BFA painting and 1980 MFA, photography.
"I am a painter who has made the natural surroundings within 800 feet of my studio the focus of my work, using the language of abstraction. Lately, I have been creating work with a translucent ground constructed with fabric adhered to mylar. The translucency of the substrate reflects my perceptions of nature and sometimes resembles “the ocean of air” as Humbolt described the atmosphere.
My habitual scrutiny of the natural world has caused me to fall under the thrall of the beauty of my surroundings. I share with landscape painters the impulse to bring attention to my native scene, but with a difference: my paintings abstract the why and how of the scene. My process begins with perceptions of commonplace events in the natural world: seasonal changes, chromatic shifts in the clouds, workings of weather, wind, birds, and patterns of growth.
I gather with memory, notes, or sketches, and in the studio draw out my ideas in sketchbooks, and use books, online research, and science textbooks to study. The work is a mash-up of source, memory, and imagination with an active doorway to subconscious input. The work frequently describes a verb, for example my most recent painting describes the act of looking at clouds. As self-appointed inspector of my environment, my perceptions are reimagined and transformed in the process of painting."
Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.
I am from Sioux City, Iowa, born into a family of six children. At a young age, my path as an artist was fostered by my intuitive and encouraging mother. At 19, I moved to San Francisco to attend the San Francisco Art Institute as a painter and stayed in the Bay Area for ten years, working in performance art and photography. In 1982, I moved to the lower east side of Manhattan where I enjoyed a vibrant art career until 1987. This was followed by a hiatus from art production while I was a mother of two small children and running a restaurant in a historic hotel upstate. I restarted my career in 2001, returning to painting and a life sustained with teaching.
In 2015, I moved to western Massachusetts, with a new life and studio and my work shifted thematically due to changes of time and space. That year, my youngest daughter moved out into the world and released uninterrupted time. With new focus and a studio located on a farm surrounded by open fields, the interpretation of nature became the major theme that has guided my work from 2015 to today.
What kind of work are you currently making?
I am currently making paintings that are two dimensional and also develop installation works.
What is a day like in the studio for you?
I tend to be in the studio every day I am not traveling and like to have a number of active projects going that keep the studio on a continuum because I have found it is hardest to pick up a cold thread. Many times, I start a project with drawing and research, but the real work starts with a dive into the process. I work with the light, 5-7 hours a day and take a break for lunch, a walk or a rest on the bed that is an important piece of furniture in the space.
What are you looking at right now and/or reading?
I am reading The Magnificent Rebels by Andrea Wulf about the romantic poets and go to gallery shows upstate and in NYC, looking at what is being produced right now.
Where can we find more of your work?