New York

Mac Adams

The Art Collaborative

Mac Adams, showing only two actual works, 1970, and a book of photographs documenting works from 1972 and 1973, also reflects a reluctance to be cast into any stylistic cell and have the key thrown away. His work reflects a range of catholic concerns with a fairly strong Conceptual underpinning. The multiplicity of Mac Adams’ approach is best shown by the documentation of some of his recent work ranging from Body Module of 1970, where he located a minute piece of wood in and around regions of his body; Two Triangles of Joanne of 1972 with a “tautologous” measuring tape containing measurements of a girl’s head whose photograph is actually part of the tape; Wall Piece No 2 of 1972, a wall “drawing” using “negative” drill holes and “positive” plasticene as markers; and Text For Landscape of 1973, a kind of “story art” piece with a short narrative about a mysterious moving dot on a skyline in Wales shown with a diagrammatic model of a similar dot placed in a gallery. Apart from this diverse documentation the two pieces extend Mac Adams’ range. One is a piece of wooden sculpture, and the other is a set of eight color photographs. The sculpture—I use the word loosely—is called Pinch Bar Extension/Contraction with two different lengths of wood indented at the points of extension and contraction of Mac Adams’ arms. Brass plaques state this information in the middle of each length, flexible in that they’re either floor or wall pieces. But their physicality is important in that you automatically measure your body against them. The mark of man is built into their scale and the indenting procedure. Direct cultural reference to the body is implicit. Not so with Eight Small Sculptures, actually showing hands forming sculptural configurations using a variety of materials so ephemeral it would be impossible to have any residue of each in any more tangible form. What’s also interesting is the short life of each of the sculptures. A short life which has given great freedom to the kinds of configurations. I liked especially the cupped hands with plasticene pools of water and floating scraps of wood. The plasticene pressed into the form of the hand, and, in contrast, the hand was activated by small pieces of wood and nail propping the fingers open. Mac Adams’ arrangements are spontaneous and witty in the way small or table sculpture often is not. Any kind of miniature sculpture inevitably competes experientially with other small-scale objects like watches, and in terms of articulated precision alone—it comes off second best. Mac Adams hand sculptures attempt no formality and this is their strength.

James Collins