All I See Is America
CULTURAL HYBRIDITY IN CONVERSATION WITH ARTIST DERRICK ADAMS
The artwork of Derrick Adams is occupied with bricks, those singular building blocks that, when joined and layered, constitute a certain structure. The idea of bricks is utilized as both a formal material and a conceptual metaphor. For example, a collage is composed of individual pieces of paper bricked together in layers of imagery; and just as a chessboard is bricked of black and white squares, Derrick bricks structures and meaning from a number of diverse materials and processes. He is a self-described “multidisciplinary artist”.
Books are bricked in words, bodies bricked in cells of flesh and bone, social life bricked of customs and constructs. We walk on, personas bricked in clothes.
Derrick’s works investigate images of representation. He revels in the act of constructing artworks layered with codified materials that continually disassemble and rearrange their inherent or learned meaning through a play of interpretation.
“Things are constructed. Even what I’m doing is a construction. As an artist, that’s your talent: to create these illusions of reality in order to expose certain things that are not apparent on the surface; to go in deeper and fragment things, not necessarily offering any answers, but an alternative way of looking at something presented to you…”
Derrick’s numerous undertakings offer viewers a wealth of works. His website documents a vast array of performances, video loops, collages, sculptures, photographs, even fashion and textiles. Derrick champions the mantra, “productive is my motivation” and his portfolio is a veritable compendium of contemporary art practices vested with experimentation.
“I make a lot of work. A lot of the artists that I’m interested in at certain times made a lot of work. It’s very dense. And the reason I was really drawn to the density of their work is because it takes a long time to go through their work and to figure it out and understand it because there’s so much variety in their work.”
Although his work takes on many forms and often looks very different from piece to piece, Derrick has a clear conceptual trajectory that leads through urban environments inhabited by dignified “structures” coded in representations of groups or individuals that are often marginalized or stereotyped because of their difference from the mainstream, status quo depicted in the mass media and perpetuated by systems of power.
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