The Danish-born artist Adam Saks (b.1974) draws inspiration for his recent work from the numerous pilgrimage routes he has walked over the past few years. The cultural, architectural and religious heritage he has encountered on his walks has found its way into his latest series of paintings. He fuses the personal and the historical by combining pictorial elements from a wide variety of sources, ranging from drawing studies from his travels, historical photos and printed matter from popular culture.
The three focal elements of his paintings are lines, planes, and colors. His paintings play with contrasts between shapes and voids in compositions constructed around color-drenched abstract picture planes and deliberate empty spaces. What is left out is just as important as what we see on the canvas. Saks fills every void and crack with black paint, saturating the canvas and defining the forms, whether by effacing the image or accentuating the surface. The black element can either be the central motif or the black void enclosing a cut-away plane. The beholder is invited to make connections between the associatively chosen motifs filling the canvas, be it medieval knots and discarded boots to x-rays of anatomical parts and ornamental facial features reminiscent of Art Brut.
Saks makes extensive use of linocuts printed directly on the canvas. When he cuts his motif directly onto the lino-plate, the image is defined by what is cut away; in other words, the void defines the form. He applies paint directly from the tube, and encloses the linocut images in swathes of oil stick paint, producing forms that often resemble architectural ornaments.
Saks’ work has been showcased at numerous museum exhibitions in Europe, including AROS – Arhus Kunstmuseum in Denmark, the Nordiska Akvarell Museet in Sweden, Kunstverein Reutlingen in Germany, and Lieu d’Art Contemporain in France. His work is represented in the collections of Helsinki Art Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma and Espoo Modern Art Museum EMMA, Pori Art Museum, the Nordiska Akvarell Museet in Sweden, Malmö Kunsthalle, and Lieu d’Art Contemporain.Courtesy of the artist and Galerie Forsblom