Robert Adams: Sea Stone & Other Pictures

New painted woodblocks, photographs from Adams’s latest series, and a selection of large-scale prints.

Old growth stump. Nehalem Spit, Oregon, 2012
gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches (sheet) [35.6 x 27.9 cm]

Fraenkel Gallery is pleased to announce Robert Adams: Sea Stone & Other Pictures. The exhibition presents painted woodblocks inspired by Adams’s memory of the prairie, on view for the first time, and black and white photographs from Sea Stone, the artist’s most recent body of work, made near his home on the Oregon coast. Also featured are rare, large-format prints from the 1980s and 1990s. The exhibition is accompanied by a new monograph, Sea Stone, published by Fraenkel Gallery. A major retrospective, American Silence: The Photographs of Robert Adams, will be on view at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C. from May 29 to October 2, 2022.

Untitled, 2020
ink on wood, 6-1/2 x 6-1/4 x 1/2 inches [16.5 x 15.8 x 1.2 cm]

Painted woodblocks made during the tumultuous spring of 2020 are the most recent works in the show. The simplified compositions draw on the stillness and grandeur that Adams remembers from his time spent on the Colorado prairie. They will be exhibited alongside photographic views Adams made of the prairie in the 1970s and 1980s. Modest in size and painted in springlike hues with block-printing ink, the wooden works are made from the scraps of an old bookcase, and cut with tools that belonged to Adams’s father and grandfather. A catalogue of these works, Robert Adams: The Plains, from Memory, will be published by Steidl this spring.

Untitled, ca. 2012
gelatin silver print, 14 x 11 inches (sheet) [35.6 x 27.9 cm]

The series Sea Stone focuses on a four-mile stretch of sand, seagrass, and pines that divides the Pacific Ocean from Nehalem Bay, south of the Columbia River. Made between 2005 and 2019, the 26 photographs depict the changing light on the dunes and the sea, and record the occasional seabird or footprint left by human or animal visitors. In this shifting landscape, Adams explores the meaning of our relationship to nature, and the precarity and brevity of our place in it.

On the Peetz Bench. Weld County, Colorado, 1981
gelatin silver print, 16 x 20 inches (sheet) [40.6 x 50.8 cm]

The exhibition also features a selection of 16 x 20 inch prints from the 1980s and 1990s, made during a brief window when Adams printed in this generous format. Among the highlights are images from Summer Nights, Adams’s celebrated book of nocturnal landscapes made near his former home in Longmont, Colorado (later reissued as the expanded Summer Nights, Walking), and From The Missouri West, his exploration of the last stretch of the American frontier. Also featured are a suite of shimmering ocean views made in Clatsop County, Oregon, and studies of graceful or ailing trees.

Works on View

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