The Poughkeepsie Journal ran a nice article last week, “Billy Joel, the Bardavon and Beacon: An artist’s path through photography and sculpture”, about Jason Adams’ show on view. The reception is today Sat November 12, 6-9 pm, with live music earlier 2-6 pm. We will also be open tomorrow 12-6 pm.
By John W. Barry
Head down to Beacon this weekend and you can learn how Billy Joel, Elton John, motorcycle racing and the Bardavon 1869 Opera House inspired one artist’s love of photography and sculpture, and his knack for harnessing creative expression.
It all starts with Rosendale resident Jason Adams, a Poughkeepsie native who since childhood has continuously discovered new ways to express himself.
Starting Friday and continuing during weekends through November, Catalyst Gallery in Beacon will showcase how Adams has used photography and sculpture to indulge his lifelong love of the arts.
“Photography and Sculpture by Jason Adams” will also feature live music on Saturday and Nov. 12. Also on Nov. 12, the exhibit will be open in conjunction with Beacon’s Second Saturday monthly arts celebration.
“I like his work and his eye,” Erica Hauser, co-owner of Catalyst Gallery, said of Adams.
Second Saturday, the Catalyst Gallery and its Adams exhibit underscore the pivotal role that the arts play in Beacon. The southern Dutchess city is home to Dia:Beacon, the contemporary art museum; it was long associated with the late Pete Seeger, who lived in nearby Dutchess Junction; and the new American Center for Folk Music shows how cultural horizons continue to emerge.
The path that Adams took to the arts began when he was 8. He helped his father’s friend, an electrician, with the lighting for dance performances at the Mid-Hudson Civic Center in Poughkeepsie. Adams helped cut lighting gels, those transparent pieces of colored plastic used to create colored lighting.
Adams through that experience — work with the electrician continued into his teens and included jobs at the Dutchess County Fair and Clearwater Festival — learned that he loved working backstage.
“I loved the whole idea of being the guy behind the curtain,” said Adams, 45.
Networking led the former Town of Poughkeepsie resident to gigs on Broadway and supervising the construction of stages for performances featuring Billy Joel and Elton John.
While on a supervisory team overseeing construction on tour with the two piano players, Adams viewed the stage as “an enormous sculpture with forklifts and cranes.”
And for 15 years, he served as the technical and lighting director at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House in Poughkeepsie.
While at the Bardavon, Adams captured with a camera his lighting work, for his own satisfaction and to use as a tool that could help with future performances.
After leaving the Bardavon in 2013 to be a stay-at-home father, Adams spent more time on his photography. The attention he has paid to his craft has generated magnetic images.
“I’m very much into shots that are spooky or moody, soulful or hard-lit,” Adams said.
A motorcycle enthusiast for years, Adams also built vintage motorcycles and began racing, semi-professionally, around the world.
That led to him building trophies for races out of old engine parts. He taught himself how to weld. And then he became a sculptor.
“The photo stuff was good and fun, but I got more commissions and more interest in the metalwork,” he said.
The photographs and the metalwork sculptures offer interesting perspectives on the world, which bend reality a bit.
The photos reveal how lines, shadows and the images they can generate are tucked into corners of our everyday world.
The sculptures draw you in on two levels. Both the materials used to create the sculpture and the finished product demand critical thinking and ignite the imagination.
The emotions conveyed by some of the sculptures could also make you laugh.
“For metal sculpture, the litmus test is, does it make me giggle,” Adams said.
Regarding his sculptures, Adams continued, “I love the transition from an everyday object into something completely different. It’s interesting how that switch flips and a large nut and bolt can all of a sudden become something else … And once you see it, you can’t un-see it.”
John W. Barry: firstname.lastname@example.org, 845-437-4822, Twitter: @JohnBarryPoJo