He’s baaack. After taking a break from the art gallery circuit, Rob Adams is making a triumphant return, starting at the Start Gallery with the Back By Popular Demand solo exhibit. “I had so much going on,” Adams recalled. He still maintains a busy schedule, but chooses his commitments more carefully. When he could no longer ignore the requests for a new exhibit, it was time to select a gallery. Several galleries were considered, with 323 East, the Grosse Pointe Arts Center and Start Gallery neighbor Long-Sharp Curis being leading contenders.
Jason Reed, owner of the Start Gallery, gets many requests from artists of varying quality, but he was very impressed by the work of Adams and agreed to host the exhibit. Seymor, an artist and Reed’s right-hand man, was also very impressed with Adams. “All his different strengths really show” in It’s All In Your Head, an acrylic spray paint that shows an old man with his brain exposed. “It’s really fresh,” Seymor added of his favorite Adams painting so far.
A triptych tackles modern ideas about love and romance in three striking scenes of a couple having sex with the woman pointing a gun at the man or at herself. This is of course no reflection on the artist’s relationship with his girlfriend Kristen Whiteside, a nursing student from Sterling Heights with whom their 2-year relationship has already outlasted those of some celebrity couples, with the artist’s relatives predicting that Whiteside will eventually be part of the Adams family.
Some of the paintings are overtly political. There is an admiring portrait of John F. Kennedy near the entrance of the gallery; “JFK was one of our last great presidents,” Adams declared. Closer to the gift shop hangs the 4-panel piece The 3 Faces of Evil, which portrays George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld with a text that reads in part “I charge you with genocide, the corruption of our government, … you put our Soldiers in danger … you are the terrorists!”
There was a healthy mix of old and new Rob Adams fans at the opening reception last night. In the latter category is entrepreneur Marcelus Brice, who runs the Mark England Collection. Brice saw paintings by Adams for the first time last night. “This [expletive] is hot!” Brice said repeatedly, and is now in talks with Adams to commission a number of paintings from him. Brice’s friend Joy Lewis especially liked the portrait of Martin Luther King. Adams has yet to do oil on canvas, preferring acrylic and spray paint, but is planning to tackle oil after the current show.
Adams is no stranger to requests and commissions. His friend Nathan Taib, Jessica Alba’s biggest fan in Michigan, had long wanted a portrait of the Sin City and Fantastic Four star. “I was asking him [Adams] forever. He showed up with it [the portait] one day,” Taib reminisced. “He almost cried” when he saw the painting, Adams recalled. The Alba portrait is not for sale, and Adams believes it will be the first piece to come down when the show ends, going directly back to Taib’s house. The exhibit runs until August 25, according to the gallery’s Facebook page.