Rachel Adams’ work is drawing, but not quite as we know it. Using paper draped over
wooden armatures to create large sculptural forms in bleached-out, faded pastel tones, Adams extrapolates one of drawing’s traditional functions – to define spatial relationships on a plane – into three dimensions. Her work occupies the space of the gallery much as a bronze sculpture would, but with none of its mass and spatial aggression.
Rather, her work seems both dominant and not, confrontational and self-effacing. Forms that nod to the human body, their titles (Recliner, Ottoman, Posturing) implying physical confidence and relaxation, contain contradictions.
There’s nothing imposing about their delicate, crinkled surfaces, and yet they oblige a certain mode of engagement in the viewer – looking up, around, behind – that generate an unusual power imbalance between the viewer and the viewed.
Occupying the space of the human body, Adams’ works suggest a physical absence, something drained of life, yet crackling with potential energy.
Text by Ben Street