Pallant House Gallery is delighted to announce a new studio exhibition showcasing the results of ‘Look About’, a two year mapping and collecting project by Portsmouth‐based artist Jon Adams in response to the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
The project was commissioned by Accentuate, a transformational programme of 15 projects, inspired by the Paralympic Movement, which seeks to change perceptions and offer opportunities to showcase the talents of deaf and disabled people.
As an artist and trained geologist, Jon’s approach is to entwine his artwork with his love of geology. The project largely consists of stratigraphic diagrams, commonly used by geologists to describe the vertical location of rock layers in a particular area.
Jon has used this detailed and accurate way of recording, to document creative responses to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, including projects by Blue Touch Paper, a carnival project run by West Sussex, and the StopGAP Dance Company, an integrated company for dancers with and without disabilities.
Thousands of people were invited to take part in Look About, by logging any days connected to the Cultural Olympiad and collecting items or ‘fossils’ that relate to experiences around the Olympics.
As well as inviting others to create their own ‘visual diaries’ Jon has been mapping every minute of his own life since November 2010 to give the project context. He has produced hundreds of layered maps with each section referring to different times of the day. In fact, when the project is finally completed, Jon claims that he will have 800,000 minutes of his life documented, equivalent as he says to 800,000 meters of rock! Jon’s passion for art and geology started at the age of six.
He explained: “I knew I was going to be an artist, but at the same time, I was also fascinated by the landscape. I could read the landscape before I could actually read about it. I love being outside and thinking about what’s underneath as I can visualise it.”
Jon, who has Asperger Syndome, talks passionately about his ability to ‘hear’ and ‘taste’ the environment, a type of synaesthesia resulting from his condition. Combining geology and art came naturally to Jon and he commented: “It just seems logical to me but that’s my Asperger’s for you! That’s an outsider thing to do isn’t it? Not to do things in the way other people want, but in the way you want to do it.”
Look About will be Jon’s second exhibition at Pallant House Gallery, having had his solo exhibition ‘The Goose on the Hill’ displayed there in 2009. It was after Accentuate saw Jon’s unique use of geological timescales and language to represent his life that they commissioned him to document their 15 projects, inspired by the Paralympic Movement.
When asked whether he feels his Asperger Syndrome and Dyslexia have helped him as an artist, Jon commented, “It has, but only when I’ve let it” and said “I have never wanted to work like a normal artist. I would never get an easel and go and draw a tree. I would prefer to make a piece of sound art based on photographs of the bark, play the work in the tree and then map people coming to look at it.”
Jon hopes Look About will trigger some conversation. For him, the exhibition isn’t showing the artwork for the artworks’ sake, but it is showing what is going on in the world around the Olympics. Jon, along with the Arts Council and Accentuate, would like to tour the project nationally when it is completed this September.
Jon Adams: Look About is free to the public and runs at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester, West Sussex, from 14 August – 2 September 2012