New York

Pat Adams

Zabriskie Gallery

In the work of Pat Adams, eccentricity and a rich imagination are both a virtue and a failing. Sometimes her paintings are as opulent as Oriental ornamental surfaces, the bark of trees, or precious stone; at other times, they are profuse and glutted. The credibility of the works depends largely on scale. The intimacy of the small paintings is in perfect accord with the precision of execution which modulates the surfaces from point to point like Far Eastern mosaics. The small size permits great arbitrariness of calligraphic elements that fill and warp the peculiar spaces. However, they are like hieroglyphs, in which only the poetry is decipherable. More eccentric than the images in Paul Klee and Joan Miro, though less spiritual in feeling than the writing of Mark Tobey and Nancy Graves, Adams’ ideograms are signs which seem to transcend themselves toward signification in personal and hidden meanings.

The larger works, on the other hand, create conventional outer spaces. The loops and curves entering from the side remain formal graphic elements, purely surface phenomena, no longer signifying anything beyond themselves. The rich texture of the surface seems out of scale with the fluidity of the large spirals, which are too general for the particularity of the facture. Consequently, the size seems to have been chosen as a means of displaying a virtuosity of craftsmanship. In the small works, material and skill are transcended in the presentation of unified sensuous meaning, both peculiar and particular.

Lizzie Borden