ADAMS, Robert

Robert Adams   British 1917-1984

Robert Adams, sculptor and painter. He studied at the Northampton School of Art from 1933 to 1944. During World War II Robert Adams was employed as an engineer, and after the war he spent two years teaching himself to sculpt in wood. He also produced abstract paintings but soon came to specialise in sculpture. These comprised forms abstracted from natural objects, executed in wood, plaster and stone.

In 1949 Adams had begun to work with metal. He came into contact with Victor Pasmore and the group of artists around him, which included Adrian Heath (b 1920), Anthony Hill, Kenneth Martin and Mary Martin. The group acted as a forum for Constructivist ideas in Britain. Adams exhibited with them from 1951 to 1956. He was sympathetic to the group’s aim of forging a link between art and architecture, and this was reflected in his vast mural relief for the Municipal Theatre at Gelsenkirchen in Germany, constructed in 1959 from reinforced concrete.

While teaching at the Central School Adams learnt how to weld and in 1955 began to produce constructions of sheet and rod elements. His work of the 1960s often used welded steel sheets, sometimes perforated. These were ideally to be displayed against a well-lit background so as to allow light to shine through.

In the 1970s and until his death Adams concentrated on bronze casts. Among his later public works was the large steel sculpture for Kingswell in Hampstead (1973), designed from a simple, Minimalist Form.

(Tate Gallery)

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