Adam Calwell's paintings and drawings juxtapose elements of abstract expressionism and classical figuration. During his training at the California College of Arts and Crafts, he began to create collage drawings that layered disparate images on top of one another; he now uses oil paint in a similar way, starting with an abstract background and then adding more photorealistic details, allowing the work to dictate its own construction. The resulting palimpsest of figures and abstract shapes represents the conflicted and paradoxical emotions that underlie his work. Adam's paintings evoke the tensions between mind and body, self and other, present and past. They also raise questions about the nature of identity, particularly concerning issues of gender and sexuality. He is deeply concerned about the world around him, and his work reflects his reactions to social issues such as war and consumerism by contrasting images from American advertisements and popular culture with images of rituals from around the world.
"Painting connects me to my world and times and culture. I always hope to create work that will invoke in someone else the feelings I have had before great art."
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