Art Review

Review: Deidre Adams Makes Her Mark With Metaphors & Mysteries at Point Gallery

Exhibits at Point Gallery run for just a month — opening in time for one First Friday on Santa Fe Drive and coming down before the next. So that means there's only a week left to catch the current offering, Metaphors & Mysteries, a handsome solo with recent paintings by Deidre Adams.

For Adams, who is originally from New Mexico but has lived in Colorado for many years, fine art represents a second act, career-wise. She started off working in administration and graphics, using her degrees in computer information systems and design. Then in 2008, she left her corporate job to go back to school to study art, graduating from the Metropolitan State University of Denver in 2010. And she has never looked back.

The paintings in Metaphors & Mysteries are extremely complex visually. Adams has covered the paintings with hundreds, if not thousands, of individual scribbles resembling cursive writing, cyphers or glyphs. She's developed these pseudo-legible marks as her own personal vocabulary, and she carries them out instinctually, constantly adding more according to the demands, determined intuitively, of the individual painting.
These automatic writings are suspended between transparent or translucent layers so that they appear to be floating at various levels below the surface. The stacked layers have a waxy appearance, which led me to think that they were done in encaustic — but Point co-director Michael Vacchiano said they’ve actually been produced using acrylic mediums along with acrylic paints.

All these marks on all these levels give the paintings an obsessive quality; to some extent, at least, that’s offset by the way each painting seems to have a clearly defined palette with its own distinct predominating tones. Behind the stacked marks are broad areas of color washes that both provide the background and create their own visual effects. These color fields, though encompassing many shades, resolve into a singular emphatic color that catches the eye. There are those that could be called sea green, for instance, while others may be red — even though the dominant color is simply one of dozens of shades that cover the surface. The only exception would be the white paintings, which are pretty thoroughly white.

It was just last year that Adams mounted her first significant exhibit in Denver, also here at Point; as with this current show, it comprised complex abstractions of scribbled writing. This approach is also seen in her works on paper and her stitched textiles, though the compositions of the paintings are the most completely unified.

Though the artist gets heavy in her statement about these latest paintings, talking about stuff like “the vestiges of change that inspire my process” and “the spatial ambiguity” of “flatness and depth” — all of which is true, by the way — the key appeal of the paintings is more direct and obvious: It’s their lyricism.

The Deidre Adams show runs through Wednesday, August 31, at Point Gallery, 765 Santa Fe Drive. The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; for more information, call 720-254-0467 or go to

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Michael Paglia is an art historian and writer whose columns have appeared in Westword since 1995; his essays on the visual arts have also been published in national periodicals including Art News, Architecture, Art Ltd., Modernism, Art & Auction and Sculpture Magazine. He taught art history at the University of Colorado Denver.
Contact: Michael Paglia