P.P.O.W is pleased to present the gallery’s first exhibition with New York-based artist Adam Putnam. For the last ten years, Putnam’s practice has steadily evolved out of an interest in live actions that employ the body as a vehicle for exploring the intersection between our physical selves and the architectural space that we inhabit. Putnam often uses his own body as the starting point for this exploration, merging his figure with architectural forms or contorting himself in an effort to supplant the physical elements of a space.
For this show Putnam will be exhibiting an array of drawings, sculptures, and photographs that incorporate the principles of performance to investigate the correlation between interior and exterior space, a geometry that is easily understood as the relationship between bodies and architecture. In addition Putnam will exhibit a series of short videos entitled Reclaimed Empire (Deep Edit), 2008-2014, a selection of short films from an ongoing series comprised of over 60 fragments and short works. Putnam explains that “the original title, reclaimed empire, initially an overt nod to Warhol’s ‘Empire,’ speaks less about homage, and more to the notion of a constant return to repeated subject matter – a gaze that never leaves, that stares un-blinkingly – mechanically – at the same subject. This was my Empire, comprised of whatever was on hand in my studio, sculptural fragments, broken mirrors, architectural models and other detritus.“ Putnam's use of repeated imagery has accumulated into distinct sections: Reflections, Set Pieces, Landscapes, Architectural Thresholds, and The Veiled. His subject matter reveals itself through the building of these distinct sections exploring the boundary between the physical self, architecture, and environment, often using one as a stand in for the other.
Putnam furthers this investigation through a collection of black and white photographs that depict live action projects and a selection of large-scale drawings. Taken together the works evince Putnam’s interest in exploring the human-like aspect of seemingly stagnant architecture forms, and the way in which the body can be used to navigate space and alter the way in which we perceive our surrounding environment.
While Putnam employs a diverse array of media, he regards his practice as an organic and interactive collection of works that influence and inform one another. Each of Putnam’s works, from his videos to his drawings, are grounded in a physical, central point that is essential for creating the illusion of perspective, and from which the action or movement that each piece contains is derived. A selection of imagery is repeated throughout his work as well, from the obelisks that populated his earlier work, to the more recent Piranesi-style crypts that will be on view at P.P.O.W. For Putnam, rather than signify specific architectural spaces, these images are intended to provide a means for investigating a particular perspective, a concept central to his work, while also providing a visual vocabulary that connects his multi-media practice, allowing him to learn about and expand upon each medium through the exploration of another.
Putnam’s work has been included in various exhibitions worldwide, most notably: the Whitney Biennial, New York (2008); the 2nd Moscow Biennial, Moscow (2007); and the Busan Biennial, South Korea (2008), as well as shown at notable institutions, including MoMA PS1, New York (2007) and The Astrup Fearnley Museum, Oslo (2005). Curatorial projects have included an exhibition of Martin Wong entitled Everything Must Go at P.P.O.W (2009) and Blow Both of Us at Participant Inc. (2007). Recent projects include solo exhibitions at Locust Projects, Miami, (2012) and at Artpace, San Antonio (2013).