Marina Adams met with Alex Bacon in her Greenpoint studio to discuss her many interests—from poetry to Alma Thomas to tennis to plant consciousness—as well as her unique approach to painting, seeking out meaningful forms and connections, both within her canvases and between them and the viewer. For Adams all of these concerns reinforce her painting’s subtle, but powerful protest against what she terms our “culture of convenience.”
Alex Bacon (Rail): I’m very interested in how artists understand their origin stories, which could be something in childhood, but also something that happened later, or a narrative of development. Could you talk about yours?
Marina Adams: That question brings back a memory of when I was a child. I remember feeling that everything in the world should be art, that everything in the world should have the touch of the handmade.
And if I think about the beginning—I think about Cézanne. He was the first artist I saw, when I was in junior high or high school, where I thought to myself, “I want to paint as realistically as that.” That was my intention. That experience, that kind of clarity, became a goal—what I wanted the work to have. Ironically, I had this idea that his work was literally photographic.
It wasn’t until years later that I just laughed at myself. But at the same time, I thought it was prescient in terms of the kind of clarity that I had experienced—that clarity, that kind of realism, that I mistakenly thought was photographic. Now we know, especially with Photoshop, that photography is not to be trusted [Laughs] that everything can be changed in that medium and that in fact, painting is kind of a truer, more real source...