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Scott White Contemporary Art January 11–February 15, 2014

the diverse work of San Diego based David Adey

synthesizes conceptual, minimal, and pop elements into a 21st century context exploring our internet centered, digitally saturated, and image obsessed culture through the tension that exists between the individual and universal, the material and spiritual, the momentary and infinite. Adey’s works fall into three groups: two-dimensional fragmented images of body parts meticulously arranged in three-dimensional space, electronic works, and sculptural installations. In 2007, Adey began to deconstruct pop culture images using craft punches, essentially dissecting and re-working mass media images from reproductions of tabloid figures to Shepard Fairey’s iconic Hope poster of Barack Obama, through painstaking cut-outs and entomological style David Adey: Terrestrial and Celestial Realms by Lauren Buscemi

pinned displays. In 2012, Adey pushed this body of work forward through laser cutting. Rather than forcing a pattern onto an image using the craft-punch, he responded to the actual constraints of the image—“where clothing, a ring, fingernail interrupt the natural flow” he makes a cut mark. While embracing this process, Adey also realized the implications of directly sourcing digital images online, stating “I like the idea that it all exists digitally, it never becomes something tangible until it is actually printed.” With recent works Gravitational Radius, Starbirth, and Superstar Cluster, Adey achieves a level of enhanced detail where limbs and lips have become even more miniscule through laser cutting. Gravitational Radius, with more than eight hundred pinned images

of arms and legs formed in the shape of a mandala,

Hide percolated as an idea with a few small scale

provides a mesmerizing meditative experience in which

experiments. Adey was able to realize the work in its

one can visually lose themself. Starbirth plays with

final form though an artist residency with Scott White

the contradiction between the natural and artificial

Contemporary Art. Hide is the culmination of Adey’s ex-

where individual shiny lips painted shades of pale pink

ploration of the skin and surface of the body. By literally

to deep red are transformed into a vortex through

creating a “hide” of his entire physical body comprised of

mass accumulation. Superstar Cluster is shaped

over 75,000 triangles from a three-dimensional model

into a celestial formation suggesting the universal and

that are peeled and flattened all in one piece, Hide

infinite. While enmeshed in a culture of commodified

provides a transition from the impersonal consumer

images culled from the internet, Adey also studies

image to a personal vulnerable experience. Yet due

popular science and physics,“humble beginnings

to the abstracted nature of the work, Adey remains

that help put the here and now into perspective.”

hidden. The concept to peel and flatten his entire body

Gravitational Radius, Starbirth, and Superstar

is inspired by Buckminister Fuller’s Dymaxion map, a

Cluster center on fleeting images informed by

flattened map of the globe in which nothing is distorted

youth-obsessed culture, yet they are intentionally

or overlaps. Adey originally planned to coat his entire

placed in a context and physical formation referencing

body in silicone and then to peel and cut the silicone,

star clusters and deep space. The result is a juxtapo-

but after months of frustrated experimentation he

sition that further amplifies the finite nature of these

devised a digitally based alternative. Using a 3D camera

internet-based images.

from an Xbox 360 gaming system, he digitally scanned

Like the socially constructed works of Barbara Kruger and Cindy Sherman, Adey’s deconstruction of mass

his whole body which resulted in a three-dimensional triangulated model.

media images forces the viewer to explore the impact

Hide is the focal piece of the exhibition, an engulfing

those images have on our own self-identity. Like Kruger,

ten foot by nine foot symmetrical diptych representing

Adey’s background in graphic design influenced his

every part of Adey’s body. The vast scale of the work

interest in examining these manipulated images.

contrasts with the complex details, calling to mind both

By “skinning,” cutting, and pinning two-dimensional

microorganisms and macrocosms. Hide encourages

images of glossy, stylized body parts and projecting

viewers to visually wander through the combination

them into three-dimensional space, Adey highlights

of positive and negative space which form the hidden

their flatness and ephemeral nature.

peninsulas and webbing of Adey’s body.

Adey’s craft punch and laser-cut pieces set the stage

Like Gravitational Radius, Starbirth, and Superstar

for his most ambitious project to date—Hide and its

Cluster, the digital parts of Hide are intricately

counterparts. For the past three years the concept of

laser-cut and pinned, but the result is an otherworldly

abstracted map. Influenced by his exploration of color

conjuring 1960’s NASA technology. A “sinister doomsday

reflected in Superstar Collapse, in which a vivid

quality” may also be found through the rapidly clicking

florescent pink-orange background plays off the

numbers. While researching the number “one trillion”

pinned laser-cut images, Adey painted the backside of

Adey learned that it was one trillion seconds ago that the

Hide with a fleshy bright tone—giving the work a glow

last known Neanderthals walked the plains of Europe

and backlit appearance while playing with the skin’s

and were in sharp decline in favor of homo-sapiens.

porous boundary between one’s interior and exterior.

He then arbitrarily selected the point of July 1, 2012 at

Branching from the large scale Hide, Adey created Halo, a mapping of his bust consisting of over 22,000 triangles from a separate scan; Hand Studies, a reference to Ellsworth Kelly’s Red Blue Green; and the series Terrestrial Nebula, twelve color studies rendering intimately layered clusters of subtle shifts of color that require close observation on the part of the viewer.

midnight as the peak of civilization to begin the countdown. Omega Man underlines the abstract nature of numbers, the prophetic, and the existential interest artists have always had in making something that may outlive them, but like Adey’s interest in deep space, it also puts the material world into perspective through numbers that challenge comprehension.

These abstracted glowing formations suggest a cosmic

Life Clock, inspired by Omega Man, is a customized

realm. Although the work resulted from a scan of

mortality countdown clock with a start time based on

Adey’s individual body, Hide and its related works are

Adey’s time and date of birth. Working with an actuary

not intended as a self-portrait. Instead, this work

who calculates mortality rates, Adey and Jeremy

emphasizes a universal human experience connecting

Clear, a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries, developed

the physical body to an immaterial realm evoking

Adey’s expected time of death down to the second

constellations and celestial maps—perhaps easing

based on family history, lifestyle, and health data.

the tension between the individual and universal.

The peer-reviewed research is presented alongside

Adey’s customized electronic pieces, Omega Man and Life Clock, depart from the intricate image-based

deconstruction works, but complement these earlier works by contextualizing the present-day human experience. Omega Man provides a visual countdown from one trillion seconds to zero with numbers “moving in and out sculpturally” using Russian-surplus nixie tubes. Twelve identical synchronized timers with GPS receivers are incorporated to help ensure the work’s survival. The nixie tubes suggest a Cold War aesthetic,

the work. As with Hide, Life Clock offers a rare occasion when Adey places himself directly into the work, yet its associations are universal. In addition, the mathematical model of Life Clock is designed with the intention of producing and programming additional timers customized to other individuals. A sense of urgency is achieved with hundredths of seconds visually passing in a blur. Adey notes, “we essentially all have the same amount of time when you compare it to really big numbers.” In essence, both Hide and

Life Clock highlight the human connection that,

“we inhabit the same body, we essentially have the

Fill My Cup represents Adey’s interest in large scale physical installations along the lines of his earlier work

same amount of time, and we live under the same

John Henry, an engineering feat suspending rows of

constraints.” In the context of Gravitational Radius,

books without shelves, precariously balanced above

Starbirth, and Superstar Cluster, with their

saw horses. Fill My Cup consists of an array of con-

perfected body parts and heavily made up sultry

tainers used to create a fourteen foot floor to ceiling

lips, we are reminded of the transitory nature of an

installation that could easily continue in height outside

image obsessed culture, which in spite of its apparent

the constraints of the gallery space. At the base is a

absurdity, may potentially seep under our skin and

communion cup filled with larger cups highlighting

shape our experience of self and our relationship

consumer culture from Starbucks to KFC. Each cup

to others.

increases in size until it almost skims the ceiling with

Flock and Fill My Cup address the dichotomy between individuality and homogeneity. Rather than deconstruct the impact of mass media images on the self, Adey addresses his relationship with organized religion. Flock, which was included in the 2010 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, presents forty miniature kitsch style ceramic

a garbage can. Playing with symbolism tied to both religion and consumerism, Fill My Cup represents “a parody on the sacrament of Christian Communion, the significance of which is often lost in the face of a dominant consumer society.” The notion of filling one’s cup with a slightly larger cup is also at the basis of consumer insatiability.

lambs donning neon halos lined up twelve feet in

Although conceptually driven and centered on a

length all tethered back through electronic wiring to

system of constraints determined by the artist, Adey’s

a singular power source. The lamb is a symbol Adey

oeuvre provides a sensory experience in which form

has considered since graduate school with its religious

and content are inextricable. Pleasure resides in ex-

allusions to death and resurrection, as well as the

ploring notions of individual and universal self-identity

congregational reference “flock”. Initially the lambs

in a space between the tangible and intangible.

appear accessible and comforting in the same vein that celebrity images conform to a normative stylized form of beauty. Yet a disturbing and threatening element may be experienced from the accumulation of seemingly innocent lambs as with an overload of controlled mass media images. Through repetition, both the

Lauren Buscemi has taught art history at the

flock of lambs and digital images of body parts gain

University of San Diego since 2005 and is a

a sense of gravity.

contributor to art ltd.

Hide Laser-cut paper, flourescent acrylic and pins on 2 pvc foam panels. Three dimensional scan of artist’s body containing over 75k triangulated faces is unfolded and flattened in one piece, then divided into a diptych. 120 h x 54 w inches (each panel). 2013


Laser-cut paper, flourescent acrylic and pins on pvc foam panel. Three dimensional scan of artist’s head containing over 21k triangulated faces is unfolded and flattened in one piece. 36 h x 72 w inches. 2014

Terrestrial Nebula (Series 1 – 12) Color studies from Hide and Halo.

Laser-cut paper, flourescent acrylic and pins on pvc foam panel. 15.75 h x 15.75 w inches. 2014

Hands (Studies for Hide) Laser-cut paper, flourescent acrylic and pins on pvc foam panel. Three dimensional scan of artist’s hand is unfolded and flattened in one piece. 31 h x 31 w inches (each panel). 2013

Superstar Cluster Digital images, laster-cut digital print and pins on foam panel. Fashion and celebrity images are collected from various online sources via Google image search. Digital print is laser-cut and pinned to a foam panel. 35 h x 35 w x 3.5 d inches. 2012

Superstar Collapse Digital images, laster-cut digital print, flourescent acrylic and pins on paper. Fashion and celebrity images are collected from various online sources via Google image search. Digital print is laser-cut and pinned to a foam panel. 25 h x 18 w inches. 2013

Flock Formation of forty miniature ceramic lambs, neon halos, electronics and wiring. 12 feet (overall length). 2010

Omega Man (Trillion Second Countdown) Russian-surplus nixie tubes, GPS receivers, custom electronics. Date: Countdown began 7/1/2012, 12:00am, Pacific Standard Time. Duration: 31,688 Years, 269 Days, 1 Hour, 46 Minutes, 40 Seconds. 12 identical, synchronized timers count down from 1 trillion seconds to zero. They cannot be stopped or reset. Each device is equipped with an internal clock and GPS receiver. If power is lost and the battery dies, it will self update via satellite and the countdown will continue uninterrupted. (One trillion seconds ago, the last known Neanderthals walked the plains of Europe, and were in sharp decline in favor of homo-sapiens.) 2.5 h x 9.125 w inches. 2013

Gravitational Radius Digital images, laster-cut digital print and pins on foam panel. Fashion and celebrity images are collected from various online sources via Google image search. Digital print is laser-cut and pinned to a foam panel. 47 h x 47 w x 3.5 d inches. 2012

Starbirth Digital images, laster-cut digital print and pins on foam panel. Fashion and celebrity images of lips are collected from various online sources via Google image search. Digital print is laser-cut and pinned to a foam panel. 47 h x 47 w x 3.5 d inches. 2014

Life Clock Custom electronics with GPS reciever. Working with Actuary Jeremy Clear, a mortality calculator was developed to determine individual life expectancy to the second. The peer-reviewed research is based upon mortality studies of relevant factors such as family history, lifestyle and health data. A custom designed digital clock is programmed with the subject’s date and time of birth and counts down to the estimated time of death in seconds. A GPS receiver regularly updates the current time via satellite to ensure the continuation of the countdown. Additional clocks are programmed with other individual’s data. 2.5 h x 9.125 w inches. 2014

Fill My Cup Communion cup, McDonald’s coffee creamer, french vanilla coffee creamer, amaretto coffee creamer, salsa cup, NyQuil dose cup, paper ketchup cup, souvenir shot glass, Scope mouthwash cap, ice cream cone, Peet’s espresso shot cup, Häagen-Dazs ice cream cup, urine specimen drug test cup, Starbucks cup, Jamba Juice cup, plastic party cup, Big Gulp cup, Cup of Noodles, Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia container, crystal vase, blue toy sand bucket, pink toy sand bucket, KFC bucket, popcorn bucket, Kilz Latex paint bucket, plastic planting pot, Home Depot Homer bucket, waste paper basket, apple basket, wicker basket, plastic laundry bin, steel trash can, wicker laundry basket, blue plastic recycle can, gray plastic trash can, wood structure. 14 feet (overall height). 2013


Selected Reviews / Press (continued)

2002 MFA, Sculpture, Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, MI

2012 “Dreaming of Electric Sheep” interviewed on KNPR, Nevada Public Radio

1994 BA, Visual Art, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA

2012 “Rock The Flock” by Cynthia Behr Warso, Vegas Seven Magazine 2011 “Show Stealer” by Gillian Flynn, Riviera Magazine

Solo Exhibitions

2011 Southern California’s Top 10 Exhibitions for 2010,

2014 Hither and Yon, Scott White Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA

2011 2010 California Biennial Exhibition Catalog, Orange County Museum of Art

2012 Donna Beam Gallery, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, NV

2010 2010 California Biennial, by Diane Calder,

2010 John Henry, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Santa Monica, CA

2010 2010 California Biennial Special Edition, Artist interviews, art ltd. magazine

2010 John Henry, The La Jolla Athenaeum, La Jolla, CA

2010 David Adey at the 2010 California Biennial,

2008 “I’ve got a river of life flowing out of me.” Seminal Projects Gallery, San Diego, CA

2010 David Adey at The Athenaeum, by Robert L. Pincus, Art in America magazine

2007 Atomic Particulars, Spacecraft Gallery, San Diego, CA

2009 “The Culture Club, San Diego’s top 10 creatives” by Lauren Buscemi, Riviera Magazine

2010 “The Physics Lesson” by Robert L. Pincus, The San Diego Union-Tribune

Selected Group Exhibitions

2009 “Simultaneity” by Beth Wood, The San Diego Union-Tribune

2012 You, Oceanside Museum of Art, Oceanside, CA

2008 “Fear Factor” by Robert L. Pincus, The San Diego Union-Tribune

2011 Pulse Projects at Pulse Los Angeles, LA Live, Los Angeles, CA

2008 “10 on One” by Robert L. Pincus, The San Diego Union-Tribune (top 10 exhibitions of 2008)

2011 Paper Cuts, Fullerton College Art Gallery, Fullerton, CA 2010 2010 California Biennial, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA

2008 “More From Miami” by Leslie Ferrin, for American Craft Magazine

2010 Here Not There, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA

2008 “Puzzled Pieces” by Kevin Freitas, San Diego City Beat

2010 Group Exhibition, Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, Santa Monica, CA

2008 “Book ‘em Dano” by Robert L. Pincus, The San Diego Union-Tribune

2009 ZOOM, Torrance Art Museum, Torrance, CA

2007 “2007 Invitational has a high batting average” by Robert L. Pincus, The San Diego Union-Tribune

2009 TNT, A collaborative art-making event at The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, La Jolla, CA

2008 “Grand Obsessions” by Robert L. Pincus, The San Diego Union-Tribune

2007 “Bombs and Flowers” by Robert L. Pincus, The San Diego Union-Tribune

2009 Homing In, Quint Contemporary, La Jolla, CA

2007 “Atomic Particulars” by Kevin Freitas,

2009 CUT, The Makings of Removal, Wignall Museum of Contemporary Art, Rancho Cucamonga, CA

2007 “Cannon Invitational showcases four unique artists” by Patricia M. Buckley, North County Times

2009 LA Art Show, LA Convention Center, w/Seminal Projects Gallery, Los Angeles, CA

Awards / Honors

2009 New Contemporaries; San Diego Art Prize, Noel-Baza Fine Art, San Diego, CA 2008 Aqua Art Miami Wynwood, w/Seminal Projects Gallery, Miami, FL 2008 Political Craft, Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, MA 2007 Re-covered, Art Around Books Gallery, San Diego, CA

2011 Southern California’s Top 10 Exhibitions for 2010, 2010 San Diego Art Prize, Emerging Artist, San Diego Visual Arts Network 2010 Exhibition of the Year, “John Henry” at the La Jolla Athenaeum, San Diego Fine Art Society

2007 Cannon Invitational Exhibition, Cannon Gallery, Carlsbad, CA 2007 Criteria, Galeria Perdida, Berlin, Germany


2007 Smash and Tickle, Sixteen to One Gallery, Santa Monica, CA

2013 Visiting Artist, Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA

2007 Juried Biennial, Cannon Gallery, Carlsbad, CA

2012 Visiting Artist, University of Nevada Las Vegas, Las Vegas, NV

2006 Emerging Artists, Design Within Reach, San Diego, CA

2011 Guest Lecturer, New School of Architecture, San Diego, CA

2005 2005 Juried Biennial, Cannon Gallery, Carlsbad, CA

2011 Guest Lecturer, San Diego Museum of Art, Contemporary Collectors Group, San Diego, CA

2004 The Literary Print in the 21st Century, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI

2010 Guest Panelist, Woodbury School of Architecture, San Diego, CA

2003 Cocoon, Flux Gallery, San Diego, CA

2010 Guest Speaker / Panelist, Orange County Museum of Art, Newport Beach, CA

2002 Under 1200, Revolution Gallery, Ferndale, MI

2009 Guest Lecturer, PLNU Center for Women’s Studies, San Diego, CA

2002 Ready for Circulation, Poleeni Cultural Center, Pieksamaki, Finland

2009 Visiting Artist / Lecturer, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA

2002 Graduate Degree Exhibition, Cranbrook Art Museum, Bloomfield Hills, MI 2002 Seats 14, Detroit Contemporary Museum, Detroit, MI

2008 Visiting Artist / Lecturer, NYCAMS, New York Center for Art and Media Studies, New York, NY

Selected Reviews / Press

2007 Visiting Artist / Lecturer, California State University Long Beach, Long Beach, CA

2013 Feature on KPBS Television program “Spectrum”

2007 Visiting Artist / Lecturer, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, CA

2013 “Body of Work: David Adey’s Ambitious Experiments” by Kinsee Morlan, Artbound,

2007 Visiting Artist / Panelist, Cannon Gallery, Carlsbad, CA

2012 “The Exhibitionists” by AnnaMaria Stephens, Riviera Magazine


2012 “Stars of San Diego” by Mark Hiss, San Diego Home and Garden Magazine

2003–Present Professor, Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA

Acknowledgements Scott White, Director Kathleen Crain, Associate Director Amanda Roberts, Assistant Curator Brian Lockhart, Preparator Essay by Lauren Buscemi Photography by Brian Lockhart Video stills from the film “Art by Constraint” provided by Dale Schierholt Design by MiresBall Special Thanks to: Dale Schierholt, Filmmaker Jeremy Clear, Actuary Derrick Chaney, Electronics Engineer Cameron Helvey, Fabricator Inscriptu, San Diego, CA L&R Neon, La Mesa, CA The Frame Maker, San Diego, CA Point Loma Nazarene University, San Diego, CA Studio Assistants: Austin Beneteau Shelby Collins Cearra Free Cody Chase Jeff Allen David Heim Lindsay Preston-Zappas Patrick Gilbert Published in conjunction with the exhibition “Hither and Yon” January 11–February 15, 2014 Scott White Contemporary Art 7655 Girard Avenue #101, La Jolla, CA 92037 858-255-8574 Typography: Dinschrift Handel Gothic / Hide Hoefler Text / Halo Triplex / Terrestrial Nebula (Series 1–12) Humanist / Hands (Studies for Hide) Serifa / Superstar Cluster Stemple Schneidler / Superstar Collapse Franklin Gothic / Flock Outage / Omega Man (Trillion Second Countdown) Germanica / Gravitational Radius Saracen / Starbirth Lubalin Graph / Life Clock Friz Quadrata / Fill My Cup Printed in the U.S. by L+L Printers, San Diego, CA Copyright ©2014 David Adey and Scott White Contemporary Art ISBN 978-0-9817385-5-0

David Adey - Hither and Yon  

Produced for "Hither & Yon," a solo exhibition by David Adey at Scott White Contemporary Art, La Jolla, CA. Exhibition on view January 11 -...

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