Bold As Love
Priska C. Juschka Fine Art is pleased to present Bold as Love, Adam Parker Smith’s first solo exhibition in New York City. Created as an illustrative tableau to disseminate Smith’s ongoing explorations involving consumerist addiction to violence and the infatuation with the high school crush, Bold as Love combines craftwork and portraiture in order to present the aftermath of an imagined scene inspired by Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls.
Hemingway’s highly criticized novel incorporated actual events that occurred during the Spanish Civil War with a romantic love affair. The horrific executions of fascists in the town of Ronda in 1936 was fictionalized by the author into the novel’s pivotal scene where accused fascists were rounded up, held captive in a small church, made to run a gauntlet of townspeople who brutalized them with every possible tool and finally, forced towards a cliff to fall to their deaths. The debauchery of war and the decline of human rationality was Hemingway’s message to an American society that was witnessing an increase of violence on many fronts. Smith creates a contemporary parallel as well as a parable gleaned from present-day media. Each of the seventy heads on pikes is an individual portrait of society’s members. From celebrities, like Mike Tyson, Anna Nicole Smith and John F. Kennedy, to personal friends of Smith’s and the young artists he works with, the message is that sensationalized death by any means gains the attention of the public.
Why is the glorification of violence addictive, entertaining and even romanticized? Why do we continue to live our love lives in the shadows of an unattainable model of true love? By paralleling the Spanish Civil War, Smith revitalizes an art historical tradition determined by the classical Goya and the contemporary Chapman Brothers. The artist was aesthetically influenced by the fact that some critics considered Hemingway’s writing to be "literary medievalism". Upon entering the gallery the viewer crosses the threshold of a doorway into a gory gauntlet that is populated by subjects pulled from a fertile environment of fears and longings and polluted with filth, obsessions, crushes, jealousy and grace. The scene is a visual afterward, a place where Smith continuously cites the subjects of love and war. Smith collaborated with seven teenage assistants from the Blue Sky Project during the fabrication of Bold as Love. They chose to depict themselves, family members, and imagined beings as severed heads which gives weight to Smith’s underlying message of death as being another consumerist form of entertainment.
As guilt, fascination and loyalty encroach, flawless heroines confront heart ache, fools distinguish beauty from the grotesque, and the wretched morn the loss of irreproachable purity.
Adam Parker Smith was born and raised in Northern California. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. He holds a BA in Fine Art from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and an MFA from the Tyler School of Art, Temple University, PA. His work has been exhibited in numerous exhibitions at various institutions, such as The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts in Wilmington, DE. This year he will complete studio residencies at Bemis Studio in Omaha, the Art Alliance Rotating Studio Program and Chashama in New York.