ADAM SHIELD (b.1988, Newcastle Upon Tyne, lives and works in London) is a graduate from the Royal Academy Schools of London and winner of the 2019 Art Council England Arts Grant. In his work, Adam depicts virtual spaces re-encountered through sequential images and shifts in scale that suggest existential anxiety, infinite scrolling and prophetic visions within a dystopian landscape.
The principal characteristic is unreconciled pictorial planes through layers of texture and figuration, using pliable media such as ink, oil bar, paint and monoprint. Transparent sheets are overlaid to compress and create the impression of a view into a dream sequence. This technique of using multiple panels is referential to Adam’s long-standing fascination with billboard imagery and comic book layout. Both suggest repetition and sequence, which Adam uses to create holistic imagery of a liquid shape-shifting world through superimposition.
Adam’s work immediately makes us think of Raymond Pettibon’s early comics, which he found to be embedded with a stark sense of existential fear, together with Pettibon’s technique of framing narrative through the use of structurally prohibitive modes of image-making such as bars, grids and restricted apertures. Also, to Philip Guston’s politically charged 1960s Nixon cartoons, in which the same exaggerated character is repeated across multiple drawings and narratives to expose the political landscape of the day.
Adam also runs Long Distance Press, an independent artist’s publishing company.