Justin Adian, photographed by James McKee for W Magazine, 2014
I visited Justin to preview works that will be shown at Almine Rech Gallery in Paris next month. Justin’s work is, simply put, a hybrid of painting and sculpture.
I’m with Brady Doty, Partner at Skarstedt Gallery. As an art advisor, I am always looking for young artists who put their own stamp on important movements or genres from the past. Justin’s work is influenced by artists such as Richard Tuttle and other sculptors of the 1960s, but he creates something that is completely his own. Justin starts by carving thick pieces of foam into a specific shape, affixed to a wooden stretcher. Next, he paints on canvas, tightly wrapping it around the foam. Justin goofs on Minimalism by padding geometric forms in the same way that Claes Oldenburg softened sculpture in the 1960s.
Color and surface play a big role, evidenced by the lacquered and sprayed finish of this two-tone, two segment sculpture. Justin dusts some iridescent paint in places, highlighting the edges where canvas wraps foam. The entire underside is cheekily painted hot pink, which reflects on the wall. While the pink halo calls to mind Dan Flavin’s fluorescent sculptures, Justin’s gestures are more intimate and completely handmade.
Another sculpture backlit with neon pink paint. This open network of curves is reminiscent of a horseshoe. Justin is from Ft. Worth, Texas, which was also the title of his recent one-man show at Skarstedt Gallery.
A new series of two-dimensional works on paper, casually displayed in an open flat file. Justin applies a single swath of acrylic to glass, allowing it to half dry. Lifting the acrylic, he drapes it onto a sheet of thick paper, smooshing two colors into a two-dimensional sculpture. Below, another collision of black and gold paint is reminiscent of a flattened John Chamberlain sculpture.