An exhibition of recent paintings by Adam Straus will be on view at Nohra Haime Gallery from February 5 - March 16, 2013. "Looking for Nature and Singing the Paradise Blues" presents the artist at his most poetic, reflecting on solitude, mystery, and atmosphere. A fully illustrated catalogue accompanies the exhibition.
Most of the 17 paintings on exhibit are luminous seascapes, inspired by views from the East End of Long Island where he lives, his native Florida, and the Bahamas.
"I'll never forget the first couple winters in New York after moving from Florida and seeing those Caribbean ads in the subway, and I would just be sucked right into the picture," Straus notes. "I still have that belief in the illusionistic image being able to transport someone to another place and am fascinated by the magic of that."
"Like the ancient Greeks described by the philosopher Longinus, Straus seeks the sublime in the most ancient sense of that word - the elevation of mind and feeling that come with a true communication with nature, not the forced emotion of overly dramatic imagery," wrote Jay Williams, curator of collections and exhibitions at the Vero Beach Museum, where an exhibition of Straus's landscapes is on view through January 6, 2013.
Straus is known for landscapes that often have an ironic twist and a number of the paintings in Looking for Nature and Singing the Paradise Blues depict a pixilated view of clouds and water, as if to suggest that technology has created a virtual reality that is experienced with greater and greater frequency. What is the value of a relationship with nature and does a disconnect from it affect us?
With an enigmatic sense of space, Straus offers the indefinable horizon line in Coming Inshore and Into the Fog, 2011. The artist's depiction of solitude, a moment in time where the viewer can feel the intense quiet, seems now more than ever, paramount to humanity.
In Skies, 2012, Straus juxtaposes the daytime sky with the dark void of the night sky. One side of the canvas shows clouds on a sunny day, while the other depicts the vastness of the universe. As the artist notes, "The thickness of the atmosphere relative to the size of the earth is like a coat of varnish on a globe. We have thought of it as so vast, that we can't have an effect."
Critic Amei Wallach has written that Straus's work reflects "faith in the potency of nature, however fragile it might be and in need of protection." Indeed, Straus's seascapes are initially deceptive in their simplicity, but could be raising issues of depleted fish populations, unnatural imbalances, and rising temperatures. Sunrise: Cocoa Beach, Fla, 2011-2012, shows condo buildings on The Edge of stunning beach scene. In the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the threat of more powerful storms to come, ocean-view property is as fragile as the beach leading up to it.
Work by Adam Straus can be found in museum collections as well as corporate and private collections. Born in Miami in 1956, Adam Straus lives and works on the North Fork of Long Island.