How Philly transplant Amy Adams blurs lines with her east-side gallery.
Gallerist Amy Adams’s office stands boldly apart from the Pearl District art establishment: across the Willamette on the east side, up the stairs of the creative-retail hub at 811 E Burnside St, and at the back of her small, quiet exhibition space. The distance seems the perfect metaphor for the East Coast transplant. Since opening her space last spring, Adams has earned a reputation as an upstart whose distinctive vision knows few bounds.
On an afternoon in early summer, Adams reverently unwraps a painted, surprisingly vivid pre-Columbian ceramic piece for her July/August
exhibition, a pastiche of past (centuries-old pottery) and present (new abstract sculptures from San Francisco artist Brion Nuda Rosch). Such juxtapositions of old and new are characteristic of her gallery, Adams and Ollman. “Connections appear—or you make them—when you put disparate works together,” observes the 41-year-old with a clipped East Coast cadence, her fair skin set off by a shock of dark, curly hair.
Adams’s greatest preoccupation, though, is with self-taught artists.
“There’s something very earnest about a lot of gestures you see in self-taught material,” she explains. “I think a lot of artists look to it to figure out, ‘How can I make something that’s authentic, and personal, and relevant to my life, and my culture, and my community?’”