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Kim Adams, Toaster Work Wagon, 1997, 1960s VW bus parts, bicycles, approximately 205.7 x 320.0 x 152.5 cm, Collection of Museum London. Purchased with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts Acquisition Assistance Program and the Moore Fund, 2013. Photo Credit – Steve Martin.

Kim Adams: One for the Road

March 13 – May 24
Opening Reception & Artist Talk – Friday, March 13 at 7:30 pm

Over the course of his lengthy career, senior Canadian artist Kim Adams has created a lively and sophisticated body of drawings and sculptural works created by transforming ordinary, mass-produced objects into fantastical machines, miniature worlds, vehicles and habitats.

Adams’ youth was characterized by a somewhat nomadic existence, during which he attended a dozen schools in as many years, passing the time building models, making and unmaking, while his father followed work opportunities that took the family from their home in Edmonton to Australia and back again. Unofficially, his artistic research began in high school, when his interest in modified and specialized vehicles, such as the camper vans of recreational enthusiasts and roving food vendors, was first piqued in the hours he spent cutting class. The experience has had a lasting influence on his practice, giving rise to a quirky and humorous body of work that illuminates the often contradictory preoccupations of contemporary society and of the disposable, do-it-yourself, renovation-crazed culture of North America.

His works often begin with preparatory drawings, which provide Adams a means by which to grapple with the conceptual and practical aspects of his larger sculptural creations. On occasion, small models operate in a similar fashion, while others exist in their own right as the result of an experiment or musing on a particular idea. All demonstrate a fastidious attention to detail, allowing him the freedom to realize the possibility of projects that might not otherwise be achievable. His latest truck container models resemble miniaturized examples of Minimalism—evoking the works of artist Phillip Guston and architect Gordon Matta Clark—as much as his characteristically unrestrained, “mash-up Mad Max” aesthetic.

Hybridized, large-scale assemblages offer unique propositions on functionality and purpose. In them the familiar and recognizable—vehicle parts, ironing boards, drying racks—are turned into fantastical creations. Imbued with a sense of wonder and the ridiculous, they implore viewers to reconsider the world around us.
With works such as The Gift Machine, Adams has extended his sculptural creations through a series of performances, which encourage the public not only to engage with the work but with the artist himself. Staffed on the street or in the market square, the object becomes a site of spectacle and amusement, with Adams and his accomplices operating as ‘carnies’ in an uncanny experience of the ready-made turned on its ear. Now static within the Museum’s exhibition space the work exists largely as a sculptural form.

Born in Edmonton, Alberta, Adams graduated from the University of Victoria, and has called Grand Valley, Ontario home for much of his career, residing between there and Toronto. His work has been included in collections and exhibitions at major institutions across Canada including the Art Gallery of Hamilton, the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery of Canada, the Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Museum London and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Adams’ stature as an internationally acclaimed artist was solidified with exhibitions of his work at such venues as the Städtische Galerie im Buntentor, Bremen, and the Skulptur Projekte ‘97, Münster (both Germany); the Centraal Museum, Utrecht (Netherlands); the Sydney Biennale (Australia), and the São Paolo Bienal (Brazil), among numerous others. In 2012, Adams was the recipient of the prestigious Gershon Iskowitz Prize, an annual award presented in recognition of the national and international significance of a Canadian artist’s body of work.

Cassandra Getty & Melanie Townsend
Exhibition Curators

Hours & Admission

1080 Keewatin Street
Thunder Bay, ON, Canada
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Tue to Thurs: noon to 8pm
Fri to Sun: noon to 5pm


Adults $3.00 + HST
Seniors and Students $1.50 + HST Children (under 12) FREE Gallery Members FREE


Tel: 807 577 6427

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