Today's Hours
Museum: Closed
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Today's Hours
Museum: Closed
Gardens: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM
Adams Jr., Loren D.
Collection: American Collection
Specialties: Paintings, Prints
View Artwork
Though he was born in land-locked Linton, Indiana on September 28, 1945,
Loren D. Adams, Jr.'s most profound influence and subject has been the
sea. His fascination began at age six when his family moved to California,
and, as Adams says, he was "frightened, terrified, exhilarated and
thrilled" by his first sight of the Pacific Ocean. He took his first step
as an artist at age thirteen by applying to the Famous Artists School,
which supplies correspondence courses. Though he quit when he discovered
he would not receive instruction from Norman Rockwell, as implied in the
promotional materials, he nonetheless used the course books to teach
himself to draw and paint.

Despite his interest in art and a similar attraction to music, Adams was
initially drawn toward a religious profession and spent 1963 to 1967 at
the California Missionary Baptist Institute of Theology. Despite his
education, however, by the late 1960s, Adams was immersed in painting,
creating primarily seascapes and coastal marine landscapes. In his love of
majestic scenes infused with rich color and ambient light designed for
emotional impact, he was influenced by the Hudson River School artists,
painting layer upon layer of color in a smooth brush technique that
disguises the hand of the painter to focus attention on the subject.
Unlike many contemporary artists, he doesn't use photographs, but relies
on memory, seeking in all his paintings to convey not just the majesty of
the sea, but also the motion of the waves. As he explained it:

I began to challenge the wave. I used to spend hours watching all the
little parts of it, then I began drawing it and making graphs of it. I
charted it in motion in little squares as though it were a sculpture
moving and found that I could predetermine its positions by studying them
. . . Part of the technique is the way I paint something the way it was,
and then another sequence at the same time optically overlaps where it is
now and where it's gong to be. So you see the wave in each position
simultaneously. When you walk by, it looks like it's moving.

Another artist who has been tremendously influential on Adams is Salvador
Dali. His concern with surrealism led to Adams's development in the 1980s
of a genre he calls "Classic Surrealism". These works contain a variety of
symbolism from various periods and cultures, exhibiting Adams's own
fascination with archaeology, ancient art, and sacred writings. He has
also developed a direct correlation in many of his works between color and
music, expressed by a type of "chromatic sequence" in which the notes Do,
Re, Mi, Fa, So, La, Ti, Do equate to the colors yellow, orange, red,
violet, blue, green, indigo and back to yellow. Correspondingly, he views
his paintings as the visual equivalent of symphonic composition.

Adams continues to be a very engaged painter, declaring, "I think of my
paintings as having a life separate from my own and a destiny independent
from my own. I am pleased that quite a few museums have shown my works and
several have purchased them," though he admits it can be hard to let them
go: "My paintings are like spiritual children to me; my collectors don't
acquire, they adopt."

The R.W. Norton Art Gallery, which in 1979 included Adams's work in one of
the first prominent exhibitions to feature it, is proud to have "adopted"
two of Mr. Adams's paintings, The Burning Image and
Solitude, into its permanent collection.

Everl Adair, Director of Research and Rare Collections