Faculty portfolios

Jamie Adams

Associate Professor

Area Coordinator, Painting


Bixby 4

Campus Box 1031

Jamie Adams (born 1961) is an American painter. He was born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For his undergraduate studies he attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, where he obtained a BFA with honors in 1983. In 2000 he earned an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in Philadelphia.

His work is represented in the permanent public collections of Museu Brasileiro da Escultura (São Paulo, Brazil), Museum of Modern Art Library (New York), MOMA (Wales), Los Angeles County Museum of Art Research Library, Daum Museum of Contemporary Art, Medrad Corporation, the Pennsylvania Capitol Building (Senate, House of Representatives, Governor's office), Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Michigan Medical School, and the Olin Library Collection at Washington University in Saint Louis.

His work has been cited internationally in publications such as Art in America, Bulletin du Musée Ingres (Montauban, France), and the book Fragonard, Regards croisés, co-authored by Louvre curators Dimitri Salmon and Jean-Pierre Cuzin (Département des Peintures, Musée du Louvre).

Adams is represented by David Klein Gallery (Birmingham, MI), Zolla Lieberman Gallery (Chicago), Hespe Gallery (San Francisco), Philip Slein Gallery (St. Louis), and the private dealer G. Lamensch (Lyon, France). He resides with his wife and children in St. Louis, Missouri.

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Adams states that his work is generated from things that he enjoys looking at: bodies, women, his wife and children, other paintings, and film. As personal memoir, it functions as a transcription of his most intimate impressions from life, while spiraling through recurring social themes of identity and the psyche, love and desire. These concerns have led the artist to the solitary processes of drawing and painting and the strategy of figuration. Modes of expression such as these—advancing notions of authorship and singularity, while requiring a great deal of attention to craft—serve aptly as markers for desire and loss.

Characters in these paintings are rather like portrait projections fashioned out of borrowed imagery reminiscent of cinematic culture of the 1950s and '60s, other paintings, photos, or vintage books. As a result, they often suggest contemporary notions of identity, proposing the self as imaginary, constructed through language, or from images elsewhere. The use of mimicry and mimesis help regulate the perceived dissensions between visual appearance and the psychic self. He constructs them to consciously mirror cinematic effects—its projective nature, image-flow, use of montage, and celebrity personae—as a way to insinuate a complication or disturbance.

Two bodies of work have been the primary focus over the last decade in this regard: the monochromatic jeannie series based on Jean Luc Godard's French New Wave film Breathless; and the more recent "technicolor" Niagara paintings, which draw imagery from a compilation of European/American films in addition to Henry Hathaway's 1953 film Niagara.