To make sense of any work of art, one must transform the work’s interlinked networks of signs, symbols, traces, and structures into a linear text.
In the case of the New York-based artist Adam Henry, the fracturing of his paintings integrated whole results in an array of subjects such as difference, reiteration, authenticity, deferral, acceptance, and the relation of form and content to identity.
Of all the possible options, Henry seems to have chosen to accept the existent terms and conditions of late-modernist paintings as his foundation. What this means is that his paintings begin with a canvas filled with all that possibly has gone before. Under such conditions, the task of the artist is to remove everything that does not serve their purpose, and reform what is left. Based on this, the question facing Henry was: how can he exploit modernist painting without merely replicating, quoting, or critiquing it?
Apparently, he must have either intuited, or discovered Ockham’s razor, which proposes that in trying to understand something complex, getting the unnecessary information out of the way is the fastest way to the best explanation. In applying this axiom to modernist painting ostensibly, he began by abandoning the tried and true modernist scheme of challenging, or negating conventions and dominant practices.
In the tradition of Yves Klein, Lucio Fontana, Piero Manzoni, Andy Warhol, and Gerhard Richter — Henry’s paintings reveal themselves to be a composite of deceit, formalism, and an attempt to perhaps spiritually transcend their own materiality. Comparably, Henry’s composites of contradictory positions invariably transmit, re-transmit, and relay signals about the traditional and novel concerns of its maker, and aspects of their cultural context and history, as well as the technical, material, and intellectual conditions of their making.
Adam Henry declares – “With painting I believe it is possible to illuminate realities that logic can not reach.”