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Guns are central to David Adey’s latest series of work: guns as a tool to assist with the creation of his sculptures, and online designs for them created with a 3D printer that become major elements in these new works. The charged national debate over guns, the debate over the accessibility of “3D printed” versions of them, and recent shootings of horrific proportions have all been catalysts for his new work, which will be shown for the first time in a solo exhibition titled There Be Dragons at Quint Gallery from January 12 to February 23, 2019. There will be an opening reception for the artist on Saturday, January 12 from 6-8PM. The public is invited.
Of his motivations for this project, Adey comments, “It is one of the most vexing problems our culture is facing. For me, this is a project that transcends art making. It is one I have tried to work through in philosophical terms.”
The largest of Adey’s sculptures was formed by firing thousands of rounds – with an AR-15 rifle, a Glock 34 handgun and a 12-gauge shotgun – into an arresting 8-foot-tall rectangular column in cedar titled 2,127 Rounds. He created another large-scale sculpture with the shards from the cedar column, added to a structure of four by fours, which also contains elements of the 3D printed plastic guns.
A vital dimension of the exhibition is a downloaded 3D model of what is called the “lower receiver” of an AR-15. In commercially manufactured weapons, this is the portion of the infamous assault-style rifle that contains the serial number, and is restricted by local and federal laws.
Like Adey’s earlier, critically acclaimed projects that dissected the objectification of the female form in advertising and used new technology to represent the body in novel ways, his new work is characterized by a seductive formal complexity and a thematic sophistication. It includes a grouping of 15 cedar posts or columns in which he has embedded colorful components of the AR-15 in plastic, to create sculptures that are formally enticing and symbolically disquieting.
In another series, featuring 15 wall mounted relief compositions, he has taken the same digital 3D model of the AR-15 lower receiver, and, using software, he has reconfigured its three-dimensional elements as flattened forms. He has used these laser-cut shapes as elements in a series of elegant geometric abstractions, fashioned from veiled versions of the weapon layered with elements of a flattened 3D scan of his own body. This group of works, in his view, beg the question: “How many steps away from the original can the work be and still be legal?” The series of 15 compositions, together, contain all the data for one AR-15 lower receiver.
The exhibition will also include a preview of a forthcoming documentary by filmmakers Andrew Norbeck and Jared Callahan. This short film chronicles Adey’s creative inquiry into the world of guns, and the process of creating his sculpture titled 2,127 Rounds.
Adey, a professor of art at Point Loma Nazarene University, has had six solo shows in the last decade, and has been represented in major group exhibitions such as Here Not There: San Diego Art Now at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (2010), The 2010 California Biennial at the Orange County Museum of Art, State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas (2014), and a permanent sculpture commissioned by the County of San Diego (2016). This will be his first solo exhibition at Quint Gallery.