Annotations is a series of artist commissions for Drawing Room’s Outset Study. Including 6 artists over a 3-year period, each artist undertakes a period of supported residency, researching the library collection to create a work for Outset Study – using the wall, the space, or intervening within the library collection itself.
ADAM SHIELD’s Annotations 6 commission, Expo Dream Leech, portrays a liquid, shape-shifting world. Virtual spaces are re-encountered through sequential images and shifts in scale that suggests existential anxiety, infinite scrolling and prophetic visions within a dystopian landscape.
Shield’s works explore unreconciled pictorial planes through layers of texture and figuration, using pliable media such as ink, oil bar, paint and monoprint. Transparent sheets are overlaid to compress and create the impression of a view into a dream sequence. The use of multiple panels employed in Expo Dream Leech responds to the scale of the space in Outset Study and reference Shield’s long-standing fascination with publication and comic book layout. In addition, the use of poster-print repetition of billboard imagery functions as a device to both sequence a series of images and create one whole image simultaneously.
The works made for this Annotations commission are directly informed by Shield’s research within Outset Study. Shield responds to Philip Guston’s politically charged 1960s Nixon cartoons, in which the same exaggerated character is repeated across multiple drawings and narratives to expose the political landscape of the day. Also to Nancy Spero’s sequential and totemic collages, which seem to project a sinister world, with figures suckling at a helicopter-fly hybrid and fleeing bodies that are positioned as if trying to escape the pictorial bounds of the image. Shield was also drawn to a collection of Raymond Pettibon’s early comics, which he found to be embedded with a stark sense of existential fear, together with Pettibon’s technique of framing narrative through the use of structurally prohibitive modes of image-making such as bars, grids and restricted apertures.
Adam Shield (b.1988, Newcastle Upon Tyne) lives and works in London. Graduated from the Royal Academy Schools, London (2017); and Newcastle University, Newcastle Upon Tyne (2011). Select exhibitions include IMAGE DRUM, Royal Academy Weston Studio, London; Drawing Biennial 2019, Drawing Room, London (2019); Terraforms, Kristian Day Gallery, Concept Space, London; Chumming, The Pipe Factory, Glasgow International; Hands Roots, Hawkins, London (2018); Drop Shot, Fetes College, Edinburgh; Bearing Liability, Strange Cargo, Folkestone; RA Schools Degree Show, Royal Academy Schools, London (2017); Premiums: Interim Projects, Sackler Galleries, Royal Academy of Art, London; Let’s Get Inside Everything, Milma, London (2016); and RIFF,Baltic 39, Newcastle Upon Tyne (2014).