Art: 314 | Drink, Dance, Bid, Support, Repeat

Did all that recent STLFW coverage leave you craving an event? It’s okay — I was there, and just posting the photos left me dying for a fun night out. Lucky for us, for a mere $25, you can spend this Friday supporting a St. Louis museum; helping local artists; and enjoying an open bar, a salon-style silent auction, and dance party at the Contemporary Art Museum’s Art: 314 event.

As ‘contemporary’ is the keyword in the name — that’s a lie, ‘art’ and ‘museum’ are equally important, but you get the idea — the CAM has no permanent collection; instead, all displayed work changes a few times per year. Much like the museum itself, the event will feature multiple types of artwork in a range of media. Half of silent auction proceeds will go right back to the participating artist, and what goes to the CAM will support its Front Room exhibition series and Open Studios STL program. Does the combination of supporting the arts and drinking from an open bar sound really great to you? Contemplate the $75 ticket — only $65 after the coupon code! — which includes a one-year Young Friends membership, a.k.a. a group that holds drink-and-support-the-arts events all year. And since 25% of all CAM funding comes from members, you can feel great knowing you’re enjoying art and booze for a good cause.

Before the event, take a peek at a few of my favorite pieces by participating artist Jamie Adams. He was nice enough to recently chat via email to give us a little more insight on his work.

JEANNIE CLIFF by Jamie Adams

Julia: How do you describe your style?

Jamie: My work is a representation of mediated realities, liminal spaces. I am most interested in psychic spaces, portraits as projections of the internal reality. The work functions as a meditation on certain social themes — love, desire, and need. I borrow images from my own personal stash — images of family and friends, cinematic/TV culture from the 1950s and ’60s, or other paintings, photos, vintage books… For the last decade in particular the work has mixed aspects of painting with cinema — it’s personae, projective nature or use of montage, etc… as a way to suggest some kind of complication or disturbance.


Julia: What initially drew me to your work was the use of color in the 2014 pieces; so, I was surprised to see such a mix of high-saturation and black-and-white pieces once I looked at more of your work. How do you decide upon a color palette?

Jamie: I often give myself projects. I liken it to how a director works by hiring actors, stage crew, etc… The most recent one (Niagara series) draws from an array of sources, including American Luminist painting and the Technicolor of ’50s films. Aspects of some of my favorite films from that period have found their way into the work…films such as Douglas Sirk’s All That Heaven Allows, Hathaway’s Niagara, Leone’s Once Upon A Time in the West. From a contemporary perspective, Technicolor’s overly-saturated color in those films embodies the anxieties of postwar trauma, and society’s striving for conformity, prosperity, and peace.

The earlier Jeannie series (2005-2012), was a group of black-and-white paintings based on a black-and-white film — Jean-Luc Godard’s French New Wave film, Breathless, released around 1960. I was initially drawn to Jean Seberg’s character in the film, and the wonderful, ambient light in her bedroom apartment where monochromatic folds of flesh, and bed sheets, and cotton clothing merged into one continuous surface. At the time, I wanted to belong to this filmic space; to settle down, set up shop and make something. Initially, the painting’s black-and-white surfaces were suggestive of early film technologies or a painting’s under layer of grisaille. The painted figures, with their curvaceous volumes, additionally began to take on the appearance of Neo-Classical sculpture, semblances of marble statuary.

HERCHAIR by Jamie Adams

Julia: There’s something very unique about the women in your pieces — there’s a bit of sexiness and modesty, femininity and masculinity. What draws you back to this subject matter, and what do you hope to show with these pieces?

Jamie: I create paintings based on what I want to see. It’s always a negotiation between my initial idea, the necessity for the painting to become a visual experience, and my ability to manipulate paint matter in a certain way.​ While many of my paintings begin in an organized fashion, they usually slip into chaos. Some characters that begin as one gender sometimes end up burlesquing another; others added are eliminated; scenes come and go. Characters are made to ‘fit’ into the painting. I construct them in relation to the frame and other elements within it. And certain aspects of the body may become accentuated in order to highlight particular qualities: a torque of the hip, iridescence of flesh, a hand gesture, attenuation of the sternal notch or canopy of the chin, etc… All of this has to do with how the painting at a certain point starts to assert itself, to make its own demands. One move affects the need for another, and then another, and so on.


Julia: Who is ‘Jeannie’? [Pictured in many of Jamie’s pieces.] If she’s fictional, who do you imagine her to be?

Jamie: Jeannie keeps changing. For a while, she was everything to me — the reason to make the next painting. It’s because she seemed an empty vessel that I thought I could fill with my own ideas, memories, wishes. And she could play any role — the surrogate, model-mother, furtive lover, ephebic male, the muse, youth… the artist.

JEANNIEPANT by Jamie Adams
JEANNIEPANT by Jamie Adams

See Jamie’s work — alongside the work of many other talented artists — at the upcoming Art:314 silent auction and party at the Contemporary Art Museum this Friday, November 14 at 8 p.m. Use coupon code OJA4185 for $10 off your Art: 314 tickets! Now, time to decide what to wear…

We’re putting the ‘art’ in ‘partnering’ with this collaboration! Bad joke, whatever, but here’s the point: I was invited by the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis to explore their Young Friends Program. I received and will receive complimentary access to events, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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