“Slicing, gouging, scraping and cutting: Adrian shapes clay into evocative and compelling portraits whose roughly worked surfaces and anatomical accuracy allow them to simultaneously read as both lumps of inert material and living human forms.”
I make sculptures that use portraiture to look at the complex, multi-layered ways in which we use our bodies as a language to express and project ourselves as well as at the ambiguities and contradictions we encounter when we attempt to read that same language in others.
Incorporating a strong awareness of the sculpture-making process, my portraits, with their rough, striated textures and cubist-like surfaces instantly engage as viscerally worked objects while their physiognomic particularness simultaneously raise questions of identity and of the self from within the framework of the artist/model relationship. My use of multiple casts, another facet of sculpting, also originates from within the sometimes restrictive but at other times enabling boundaries specific to this art form that help construct an interestingly unusual position from which to explore ideas of being social, interacting humans.
From personal experiences and observations to news items and ancient history, my works have diverse influences and
inspirations. In Nice Head, in which I placed a sign saying *IC* HEAD next to a portrait of my neighbour, I combine graffiti with newspaper language protocol to riff on my neighbour’s abundant use of expletives to play with the idea that his portrait is both an object (*IC* HEAD could mean Nice Head) and a character (*IC* HEAD could also mean Dick Head).
In An Allegory of Death & Destruction and An Allegory of Life & Creation I portray Liverpool model Sue Lee sitting on debris scavenged from buildings recently demolished in my Liverpool neighbourhood. Using the symbolic opposites of
dark & light and gun & branch I turn two casts of this portrait of a specific person and a specific place into opposing
allegorical works that reflect, on a more general level, the diverse feelings towards a city’s regeneration.
My art practice is rooted within the portrait sculpture tradition and exists at the point where art production, art theory and cultural values merge. Using visual and written languages that range from local vernacular speech to canonic symbolism I explore the complex and loaded nature of portraiture and the way it throws a very particular light upon ideas of craft and art; individualism and universality; and culture and identity.
Name: Adrian Jeans
1997-2001: Glasgow School of Art, Glasgow, BA(Hons) Fine Art Sculpture
2014: Nice Heads. Solo installation. Nelson St, Liverpool, U.K. Part of Liverpool Biennial Independents 2014
2014: The Craft of Art. Solo show. Metal, Liverpool, U.K. With collaboration from photographer Alan Mckernan.
2014: The Craft of Art. Solo show. Metquarter, Liverpool, U.K. Part of Liverpool Biennial Independents 2014
2013: A Nice Head. Solo installation. Romer Road, Liverpool, U.K.
2012: Applied Meaning: An Allegory of Death & Destruction and An Allegory Of Life & Creation. Solo show. Nelson St.,
Liverpool, U.K. Part of Liverpool Biennial Independents 2012
2011: The Moulding: Solo performance. Metal, Liverpool, U.K. Part of Future Station Festival.
2005 – 2006: Crossing Sights. Two-man show. The British Museum, London, U.K.; The National Museum, Accra, Ghana;
Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana; Clare Hall, Cambridge, U.K.; Merseyside
Caribbean Community Centre, Liverpool, U.K.; QI Building, Oxford, U.K.
2002: Drawing in the Proverbial. Solo show. The West Africa Studies Center, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science &
Technology, Kumasi, Ghana and The British Council, Accra, Ghana.
SELECTED TALKS AND LECTURES
2014: Portraits, Pedestals and Performances. Presented at The College of Art, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science
and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
2013: The Craft of Art. Presented at Sculpture and Painting sections, The College of Art, Kwame Nkrumah University of
Science and Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
2012: The Craft of Art. Presented at Metal, Liverpool, U.K.
2006: Exploring The Proverbial: The Effects of Proverbs And Idioms On A Cultural Intruder. Presented at Kwame
Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi. Ghana.
2006: Drawing for Sculpture workshop at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
2006: Guest speaker at Timeline’s Art Student Conference, Coventry, U.K.
2004 & 2005: Guest tutor for Sixth Form art students. Burwell, U.K.
2001-2003: Lecturing Assistant, Department of Painting & Sculpture, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science &
Technology, Kumasi, Ghana.
SELECTED GRANTS & AWARDS
2014: Frensons exhibition sponsorship (Nice Heads installation)
2014: Metquarter exhibition sponsorship (The Craft of Art exhibition)
2011 – 2013: Metal: artist’s residency (The Craft of Art project)
2005 – 2006: British Council Ghana Exhibition Grant (Crossing Sights exhibitions)
2005 – 2006: Ghana Museums and Monuments Board Grant (Crossing Sights exhibitions)
2004: English Arts Council Grant (10+1 exhibition)
2002: British Council Ghana Exhibition Grant (Drawing in the Proverbial exhibitions)