Jersey City, NJ
Each of the works within this exhibition is a carefully contemplated assemblage on paper and canvas, comprised of acrylic paint, silkscreen and other multimedia. Silkscreen is used here as a painting tool – not as a printer’s technique. The application of silkscreen occurred in tandem with the process of collage as each was created individually. Some of the pieces contain legible sections of newspaper articles; some include recognizable photographs and advertisements. No two paintings are identical but each shares the same number of stars and the same number of stripes.
Cey Adams is a master of collage and his work is very much informed by imagery that infuses daily life and, as a result, influences or affects daily life. When Adams introduced Gary Lichtenstein to the idea of creating a series of American Flags, the two embarked on a journey that inspired the evolution of this exhibition. It is important to recognize the results of a fierce collaboration while acknowledging that the exhibition is significant, not only because of the content within it but because of the processes employed during production.
The American Flag is ever present throughout mainstream America and the Flags on view here are certainly a testament to the power of an iconic image across a society that is so diverse. At the same time, it is not the artist’s intent to convey a specific message or to persuade a unified idea. The Flags are meant to be wide open for interpretation, together or individually. Despite the differences inherent within each Flag, every viewer is, quite simply, confronted with an American Flag. Like other pop artists before him, Adams seeks to encourage an uncomplicated approach to his work. Take a look and take something away — an opinion, an interpretation, a conclusion. Art history classes are not required here.
Cey Adams, a New York City native, emerged from the downtown graffiti movement to exhibit alongside fellow artists, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. Cey’s work explores the relationship between transformation and discovery. His practice involves dismantling various imagery and paper elements to build multiple layers of color, texture, shadow and light. Cey draws inspiration from 60s pop art, sign painting, comic books and popular culture. His work focuses on themes including pop culture, race and gender relations, cultural and community issues.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.