Monday, January 26, 2015

In Conversation: Adam Stone

Install View of A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) (2013), Debut X, Blindside ARI, Melbourne, March 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.

Adam Stone is a Melbourne based photographer, sculptor, video and installation artist who recently received his BFA First Class Honours from the Victorian College of the Arts. In 2013, he was the recipient of the Fiona Myer award, a finalist in the Qantas SOYA award, a finalist in the McClelland Gallery Sennini Sculpture Award, the recipient of a Melbourne University Grant and the George Paton Gallery ‘Readings’ Prize. He was the recipient of the Orloff Family Charitable Trust Scholarship, The Centre for Contemporary Photography Kodak Salon Borge Imaging Prize and The George Paton Framed Prize in 2012.

In 2014, Adam completed residencies at Inside Out Museum in Beijing and Residency Unlimited in New York. His work ‘A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash)’ won the Montalto Sculpture Prize in February.

He has exhibited in both solo and group exhibitions at ARI’s, commercial and public galleries in Melbourne and Asia. Selected galleries include: Monash Gallery of Art, McClelland Gallery and Sculpture Garden, Inside Out Museum (Beijing), Melbourne Museum, Albury Regional Gallery (collaboration), Seventh Gallery, Blindside ARI, Margaret Lawrence Gallery, The Centre for Contemporary Photography, MARS and Langford 120 (collaboration).

He is held in public and private collections in Australia and Asia.

Install View of A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) (2013), Debut X, Blindside ARI, Melbourne, March 2014. Image courtesy of the artist.


Tell us about your connection to the City of Boroondara.
I grew up in Canterbury and went to school I Kew, so I’m pretty familiar with the area. A lot of my time was spent at Camberwell skatepark where I now work (supervising, taking lessons etc). My interest in extreme sports that is evident in my work has been undoubtedly influenced by my time there. 

Was there a time when you knew you wanted to be an artist?
Creativity was always fostered in my family. My Dad is an artist who studied painting at the VCA and my Mum studied graphic design, eventually perusing an art/craft practice instead. I had a passion for art and drawing early on that eventually dwindled in my teenage years as I became more and more impatient with the rigor hyperrealism demanded. Through BMX riding I became interested in photography, predominantly as a means of documenting my friend’s tricks, but this shortly transformed into a passion for art photography; its immediacy suited my teenage lack of patience. 

From there, it sort of became the only thing I could do. I would have been a complete idiot to choose a boring course at university when I could pursue art. For me, that decision was made out of laziness and self indulgence – which are both pretty abysmal and depressing to admit. However, I actually do enjoy admitting that because it does fit with the sort of cheekiness that sometimes seeps into my practice. 

What inspires you?
The primary concern in my work is the notion of hubris or an overreaching that has negative connotations. For example, a skateboarder who crashes trying a trick, global warming due to carbon emissions and the global financial crisis are just a few examples. This innate and troubling human behaviour is fascinating to me, because despite being so technologically advanced, we are still at the mercy of self indulgence and are attracted to high risk high reward behaviour. 

A lot of my interest in this area comes from personal experience. I used to be an athlete competing in 800m and cross country until I got post viral/chronic fatigue from overtraining. Also, as I mentioned earlier, I ride BMX and have had countless injuries, but can’t help myself from riding. 

Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) (2013), polyurethane, fibreglass, steel, automotive paint, 2 x 1.8 x 1.54 m. Image courtesy of the artist

What’s your favourite artwork and why? (Can be from any time in history).
To be honest I’m more influenced by an artist’s whole body of work rather than just a specific work. Each work is just a specific moment, or slice out of something greater in a successful art practice. With that said, I spend a lot of time enjoying the work of AES + F, Callum Morton, The Chapman Brothers, Urs Fischer, GCC and Paul McCarthy. 

Your sculpture A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash) was acquired into our collection; can you tell us a bit about the work? It looks painful yet beautiful!

As I mentioned earlier, my work tends to deal with the idea of hubris. For this work I have used found images and my personal experiences with extreme sport and apply them to the notion of the hero in classical sculpture. By extracting found images and transforming them into 3D forms, I convert my/their failure into success. This highly gestural transformation creates a monument out of the digital image, an image devoid of any physical presence. I recreate this ‘cyberspace’ image using my own body, creating the basis for the self-portrait. I intend for the work to be a haunting reminder of the cycle of hubris and a reinterpretation of the Icarus myth in 2013. However, I also realise that viewer projects their own experiences onto the work and that informs their interpretation of it, which I also recognise and find interesting. 

What does it mean to you to have your artwork acquired into a public collection?

Besides being incredibly affirming and humbling, it gives the work an opportunity to exist in an ongoing capacity where it becomes (when exhibited) part of the public domain. 

If our readers want to learn more about you and your artworks, where can they go? Eg, websites, books, galleries, etc.

You can see more of my work and keep up with exhibitions I’m in at 

Finally, what’s coming up for you in 2015? Any big projects or exhibitions on the horizon? 

I have an upcoming solo show at Kings ARI in March 2015 where I will be showing a series of 3D printed sculptures including A Fall From Grace (Self Portrait Crash). I have also been selected as a finalist in the Montalto Sculpture Prize where I will be showing a marble sculpture I completed during my residencies this year in Beijing and New York. I’m also planning on showing the work (alongside other new works) in a solo exhibition later in the year.

Work in Progress view of Pieta (Nick and Angus), white marble, 100 x 80 x 54 cm. Image courtesy of the artist.

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