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Art: Stennett

Adam Stennett. Mouse on Ring at Olana 1. 2004. Oil on wood, 12 x 12 inchesI first met Adam Stennett through a friendly pick up game of soccer that happened every Sunday at the East River Park just before the turn of the century. I did not know at the time how great the art he was making was, only that he had great ball skills and a wicked tackle.

 

Since then, I have seen several shows he’s been involved with, both as a member of a group exhibition or in his solo shows, and each time I have walked away impressed, with my mind buzzing (and not from the free booze). Adam kindly consented to talk with us about his work and influences recently…

 

Green Spot Blue:   

How did it all start for you? Was there a Damascene moment, a point when it hit you that you wanted to create art, or did you come to it more gradually?

Adam Stennett:

My great-aunt was a painter and I was always excited to visit her studio when I was little. I think it opened my imagination to see an adult who spent so much time painting. Making art was always fun and it always seemed to be a very natural thing to do. It seemed to fit the way my brain worked.  At a certain point I decided this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Adam Stennett. Soothing Syrup with Two Poppies (Papaver somniferum). 2010. Oil on wood, 24 x 24 inches

GSB:

Were there any artists who influenced you dominantly when you were growing up, not so much in a stylistic sense, but as touchstones, work you would turn to find inspiration?

Stennett:

I grew up and in woods of Oregon so big nature was my main early influence. Later I discovered writers and artists like Martin Heidegger, Dostoyevsky, Albert Camus, Raymond Carver, C.K. Williams, J.D. Salinger, Thom Jones,  Käthe Kollwitz, Gerhard Richter, Jackson Pollock, Jean-Michel Basquait, Sally Mann and Diane Arbus. 

Adam Stennett. Ted Kaczynski (MK-ULTRA). 2009. Silkscreen on appropriated mugshot image, 8.5 x 11 inches

GSB:

What was the first work you created where it felt like you had found your voice, so to speak?

Stennett:

Probably short stories. I think I found my voice through writing. The process of editing and scratching out words that aren’t right is very similar to the process of making art for me. 

GSB:

I’ve noticed over the years that you seem to work in series, finding a core image or subject matter and expanding and exploring its possibilities. How do you decide when you have finished with that exploration? Is it a matter of you reaching a point where the subject seems to have been fully mined or does something new come along and usurp your attention?

Stennett:

I make what I would be excited to see.

Adam Stennett, Prospect Park Fight Fuck, 2005 Video DVD, Dimensions variable, Edition of 9

GSB:

When you are working on new stuff, are you thinking in terms of putting together a show of the work in a complete manner, that is shaping the gallery space as a total experience, almost as if an installation or is that an afterthought, something that surfaces later?

Stennett:

  I almost always plan a show as a total experience. Each work needs to be able to stand on its own but the exhibition as a whole needs to be something larger

GSB:

What would you consider the five most essential things in your studio, the things that you could not work without (not so much materials but the ephemera tho you could include materials)?

Stennett:

Coffee, army cot, radio, camera, eBay 

GSB:

How has new media and technology become a part of how you work, if at all?

Stennett:

I do a ton of research using the internet and digital photography has made it much more efficient to shoot reference imagery for paintings.

Adam Stennett. Mouse on Flower at Olana. 2005. Oil on wood, 24 x 24 inches

GSB:

How would you describe your work, your aesthetic to a blind person?

Stennett:

calm panic.

GSB:

What are you working on now? 

Stennett:

A top secret project that I am obsessed with.

 

Adam Stennett will be launching a signed limited edition print with exhibition a on March 12

Adam Stennett. Mouse on Book 1 (Death on the Installment Plan). 2012. signed archival print on paper, 2 editions of 50, 22 x 22 inches and 12 x 12 inches

 More information about and more of Adam Stennett’s work can be found here.