Painting: Oil on Canvas. “X, Y and Z Generations … in Troubled Times”, is a series of three self-portraits, challenging the ways I see myself vs. the ways I wish others to see/experience me. Today’s challenges are many, and the successive generations barely have time for needed self-reflection in the face of the daily, fast-changing technological, climate and other challenges. In this painting I invite the viewer to face himself/herself in this world where faces and Art are often just another image. I personally experience this painting as scary and uncomfortable. What I mean by saying that the painting is “scary” is that it confirms the dilemma that I face in today’s crazy World — an “unfinished symphony” that is essentially never to be totally understood. There were never to be any figures totally painted because the pictures represent people/humanity/me in development and unraveling. The pic of me all dressed up in a fur coat is the “show guy” presenting himself to The World … (x-generation). The y-generation me with the green face is the creative and thinking me — absorbed in my own thoughts and ideas, but battling against those imposed upon me by living in The World. And the z-generation is me blocking out and hiding from The World, the mental bombardments of images, coined phrases, propaganda, advertisements, and the glaring and oppressive heatwaves and sunlight etc. That image is in the largest state of disintegration, the skin coloring depicting a body that is almost lifeless and the head partially covered by a veil of mourning. Of course, all of the images are (as is the Internet, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, mainstream media and alternative media) manipulations — leaving out ears (i.e. really hearing and listening) and other details in order “to guide” the viewer into focusing upon the sunglasses, clothing and accessories (headlines) instead of seeing the person (content) inside … and we are consequently in a continuous struggle for self-marketing and esteem vs. incompletion and dissatisfaction with systems of ethics and values that both constrain and embrace us. The painting is “The Scream” that was never really expressed outwardly. And the minimalistic pastel-colored background is the general environment of denial — “everything is normal” — that acts as a sedative, more than inspiration. NB. See Urban Dictionary for definitions of Generations X, Y and Z.
Beauty and the Beast — the Kiss of the Fairy.
Mapplethorpe from “the inside”
“Faceless animus” asks us who much we really know another person, and how much we really want to know — the stereotypical or racial countenance … or the faceless animus that lies behind it?
«Il tessuto dell’uomo», oil on canvas, 55 x 46 cm., explores Florentine textiles and the noblemen who adorned themselves with them. On a more conceptual scale the painting alludes to «the fabric» of humanity itself.
Painting: Oil on canvas. “Photo booth”, 90 x 65 cm., oil on canvas is about the “old-style” selfie-taking … sitting in a photo booth and being photographed three times. I have attempted to duplicate the feeling of taking photos in a booth — all the same, yet slightly different — in order to capture the spontaneity, subjectivity and self-appraisal of The Moment. I also wanted to play with “graphics” in a painterly and semi-realistic way that explores the nakedNess of the experience of being trapped in a box, with little room or time to vary sitting position and expression.
Le jeune homme et la mort, 90×65 cm., oil on canvas.
Painting: Oil on Canvas. “Entre Nous et Eux”, oil on canvas, 90×65 cm. is about keeping a frozen smile and trying to remain “politically correct” in a Western world that is literally under “cultural attack” by the sheer numbers of refugees and immigrants, and further complicated by European countries’ relative naivité and unpreparedness for multiculturism. It is therefore that the background resembles the Norwegian, Czech, Russian, French, Dutch, British, US etc. flags with the red, white and blue colours … but which are are increasingly inundated with falling leaves which eventually become lively foreign objects, cultures, traditions, religions etc. — and all the while with more and more persons competing for celebrity, money, resources, ideologies and power etc. It symbolises an irreversible shift in cultural and social values and traditions, and the tensions churning and burning underneath.
“Talking heads / Social media”, 65 x 90 cm., oil on canvas, 2018, is all about “the buzz” (slander and gossip, #hatersgonnahate, #lookatme etc.) in black and white.
Les rêveries et les confessions personnelles, 40 x 30 cm., oil on canvas, 2020.
“Libbie is glowing”, 40 x 50 cm., oil on canvas, 2020, is a portrait in a semi-realistic style. Here the sunflowers are abstracted away from the cliché of bright yellow sunbursts epitomized by Van Gogh, and the resultant copper color provides an almost wooden frame around an illumined face. This is a portrait of a strong woman with strong features, but whose inner grace and contagious smile exude immense Light, beauty, and warmth. In this sense, she is an archetype and an icon.
“Forever blowing bubbles”, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm.
Painting: Oil on Canvas. “The making of a Replicant: Human Pod Project — developing embryos”, oil on canvas, 65 x90 cm., 2019. This challenging work — both conceptually and technically — is a commentary on biotechnology and the future of human design and reproduction.
Mapplethorpe as a Black man … sexuality climaxed
Alba Gu Brath! “Paintings by Adam Donaldson Powell” — Painting no. 76: «Le jour du couronnement / L’obsession des Jacobites» (The Coronation Day / Jacobite Obsession»), 90 x 65 cm., oil on canvas. This abstract oil painting on canvas features textiles reminiscent of royalty and festivities: a plush luscious green velvet hill totally enveloped in heavy silver mist, a ruined castle and a shimmering blue heavy silk fabric sky, separated by a gold and silver brocade sash which represents the horizon at dusk. Swaying in the precocious Scottish wind in the Sky of Dreams is a somewhat unstable and slightly-tarnished large golden fleur de lis, and in the bottom section is a cocksure prancing silver unicorn — the fleur de lis (the royal tressure) and the unicorn (the Scottish national animal) both being closely related to Scottish history and tradition. Together, all of these elements comprise the Jacobite obsession/dream of one day crowning a new Jacobite King or Queen of Scotland. Finally, the traditional St. Andrew’s saltire or crux decussata gives way to the glittering sword / scepter of glorious resurrection — of both St. Andrew and the Jacobite dream … never again to be subordinate, tortured, enslaved, murdered or otherwise “crucified”. Alba gu bràth! #scottishliberation
“ The Impossible Dream: impeaching and locking up ‘ The Orange One ’ “, 65 x 90 cm., oil on canvas, 2019. Liberals, Democrats and even some Republicans and ex-Cabinet Members seem determined to fulfill their dream of capturing the sly POTUS in their cat-claws. But will they ever succeed in outsmarting the Donald?
New painting: « बौद्धधर्म [baud-dha-dhar-ma] / Buddhism », 65 x 90 cm., oil on canvas. This painting is designed for meditation on peace and healing.
Letting go (of love), 40×40 cm., oil on canvas is about the process of trying to move on — without a loved one. The memories of that person become blurred, the pain is, romanticised, the sense of betrayal and anger gradually become replaced by arrogant self-pity and then denial that love ever was (in fact) mutual. Solace and personal redemption are found written as graffiti on the wall — in the words of Jean-Paul Sartre: “We are condemned to be free” (here in Spanish: “Estamos condenados a ser libres”).
Painting: Oil on Canvas. This caricature is a humorous piece, made as a reaction to artists’ and writers’ predators and “home-boys” — CRITICS, both professional, and those self-made experts who always seem to “know best” regarding what good art and literature are, and how they should be made (known signature styles by famous dead artists and writers, repeated and copied — over and over again). “My ‘style’? I react vehemently to being conveniently labelled as ‘this, or that’; just as I rebel against the so-called ‘rules of painting’, or ‘rules of writing’ … or ‘political correctness’ etc. Actually, it is the audacity of these concepts that annoys me. The need for others to classify me, my art, my writing … or anything, is surely an indication of their own egotism, insecurities, limitations and weaknesses. The closest relevant generic style classifications might be perhaps ‘abstract’, ‘colour field’, ‘geometric’, ‘abstract expressionist’, ‘minimalist’ etc. But I always find my own ‘mix’ … with limitless variations. My art and writing are meant to be different and new; and pleasing, challenging and annoying — at the same time.” — Adam Donaldson Powell
Mapplethorpe waiting to become “famous”
“Coffin Portrait / Lockdown — Summer fun”, oil on canvas, 55 x 46 cm., 2020, the second title is perhaps self-explanatory. But it doubles as a Coffin Portrait (see https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffin_portrait). This painting is a continuation of my self-portrait series, in which I explore different ways of seeing and presenting myself — with various styles and painting techniques.
Painting: Oil on Canvas. “Portrait in Blues”, 40 x 40 cm., oil on canvas, is a self-portrait mimicking Van Gogh’s self-portrait series of himself wearing a straw hat — but in a modern abstract expressionistic style in a symphony of blue tones.
“A young artist is inspired by a blank canvas full of possibilities”, 40 x 30 cm., oil on canvas, 2020. This portrait has as its theme the importance of curiosity in the minds and vision of young developing artists. Nothing pleases a true artist more than a blank canvas — full of possibilities.
«Le regard … dedans / dehors», 65×90 cm., oil on canvas. Study of integrating several abstract disciplines and techniques, including underpainting, hard edge vs. free hand, figurative plus geometric, Picasso’s earth colours etc., model: Richard Mathews (NYC). «Le regard … dedans / dehors» is about how we see ourselves vs. how we think the world does (and how we want the world to) see us. The scaly/primal-reptilian background is reversible — serving both as a covering as well as revealing our inside moving texture. When I suggest that the reptile scales are reversible I am talking about the dual functions of the skin as a protective facade which enables us to find protection but blending into our environment AND serving as a tight “diving suit” which makes our explorations easier. I find the exercise of changing skin colour and ethnicity of the paintings featuring my models to be liberating — an artistic commentary on the universality of Man. My triptych on Robert Mapplethorpe taught me this. I realized that the color scheme for this painting had to be with Picasso earth colors (from his beginning Cubist period – similar to the work of Braque). All other colors would potentially draw away from the balance which allows the portrait to remain a main focus and still tell the story of “the process” of being oneself in personal and social environments which are constantly changing and challenging us. It has to be both finite and also a blurred portrait image in a blurred background, giving a “near-sightedness ” feeling — at the same time; because that is how we experience ourselves and our surroundings, and are experienced by others. The geometric areas all have bright colors as underpainting so that the black and grey forms are not flat and lifeless, even though intentionally two-dimensional. The illusion of depth comes from the layering of forms — both underneath and over one another. This was an interesting challenge for me. I even forced myself to allow a few graphite sketch lines to remain unpainted — something I have always wanted to try.
“Don’t Ask”, oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cm., self-portrait.
“Visit from a dead lover”, 50×50 cm., oil on canvas, is an abstract expressionist portrait of my deceased life partner. It captures in general, however, the pictorial and other-worldly essence of such visits from the departed, as both the living and the no-longer alive peer through the veils of energy, space and time to re-connect for a few precious minutes.
Painting: Oil on Canvas. « Shadow » – 影, 65 x 90 cm., oil on canvas, is a black-grey-white over-sized portrait-study aiming at depicting deep thinking. The semi-realistic style aims for simplicity and shadow play, with a minimum of detail and light. The focal point of the exaggerated eye serves as a portal into the Inner Self. The darkness provides a sense of intimacy, privacy, secrecy and protection. There is solace in the shadow.
Painting: Oil on Canvas. “Mindfulness”, 55 x 46 cm., oil on canvas, is a semi-realistic self-portrait depicting a meditative state.