Anthony Adcock blends his unique experience as a Local one Ironworker, collegiate instructor, and as an artist to create works that focus on the relationship between labor and value. Using hyper representational paintings, illusionistic sculpture, and short films, he distorts the line between reality and perception to question the importance and relevancy of authorship. His work has been published in New American Paintings and has been shown throughout the country in various galleries and venues, some of which have included Lyons Wier Gallery in New York, Packer Schopf Gallery in Chicago, Lovetts Gallery in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and at the M Gallery of Fine Art in Charleston, South Carolina. Currently, Anthony shows with Lyons Wier Gallery in New York. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Chicago and his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the American Academy of Art with a specialization in oil painting where he is now serving as a full-time faculty member. Occasionally, Anthony teaches as a part-time instructor at the Vitruvian Fine Art Studio. He works out of his studio in his hometown of Chicago.
I have taken a minimalistic route with Trompe loeil painting that has led me to create frameless paintings that function similarly to the original objects the paintings mimic. The paintings resemble common flat surfaces, including dusty planks of wood, rusty sheets of steel, slabs of concrete, and other commonly used building materials found on construction sites. The surfaces are full of indexical information accumulated from hours or years of labor, use, and reuse. This information, created by individual workers, obstructs the surface. This obstruction causes the paintings to seem depthless, reducing the surface to an abstraction of marks. Giving the work the capacity to mediate, the neutral and depthless surfaces allow the paintings to live in both hyper-representational and minimal worlds. As the paintings become more meticulous the subjectivity becomes more minimal, pushing against each other to the point of cancellation. The illusionistic quality allows the paintings to be viewed as sculptures, which brings the viewer to consider the work as found objects or ready-mades. Instead of highlighting facture, the representational paintings question authorship and production, leaving the viewer to question the significance and function of the perceived objects.
The installation of the work is relatively site-specific, as it varies on the functionality of the paintings and the aesthetics of the space. For example, a painting of a wooden surface may be hung on a wall, installed as a shelf for objects to be placed on, set on the floor for viewers to walk on, or used in any other way that mimics the properties and uses of wood. The painting then becomes a usable material, not a mere reflection of that material. The objects function and specificity of placement encourages the viewer to interact with the work. For example, a painted QR code on a surface is functional and scan able, linking the viewer to a digital video, sound piece, or text. The embedded web links may provide further information about the work to the viewer. I also tend to present sculptures, drawings, films, or found objects alongside the paintings. This tends to transform the surrounding objects into paintings and adds productive confusion to the installation.
The paintings may require hundreds of hours of work only to be passed over by viewers, mistaking them for actual objects. Similarly, high-rise buildings require years of work by hundreds of workers, only to have them go unnoticed on a daily basis, with no credit given to individual workers. A bridge will be attributed to the architect with hardly any mention of anyone else, while a feature film will mention every last person down to the water boy. Working as an artist and previously as a Local One Ironworker, I struggle to understand why workers are acknowledged in one case and not the other.