Adrian Rhodes – How to Untie a Tight Knot
Adrian Rhodes grew up in Hartsville, South Carolina. She attended Winthrop University from 2001-2005, earning a BFA in General Studio with emphasis in Drawing and Painting. While studying at Winthrop she participated in a semester exchange with the South Carelia Polytechnic in Imatra, Finland. After several years as a practicing artist she returned to Winthrop, receiving her MFA in Painting and Printmaking in 2011.
She is the recipient of the SC Arts Comission’s 2020 Individual Artist’s Fellowship and the 2019 SECAC Artist’s Fellowship. Her work has been included in highly competitive group exhibitions at well regarded museum and contemporary art institutions. Drawn: Concept and Craft at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston Salem featured an installation of her work alongside artists including LeRoy Neiman, Kara Walker, Fab 5 Freddy, Kiki Smith, Sarah Sze and Buckminster Fuller. Paper Worlds at the Spartanburg Art Museum exhibited her work with eight other artists who, according to the curatorial statement, "push the boundaries and capabilities of paper.” Coined in the South at the Mint Museum Uptown selected 64 works by 45 artists from a submission pool of 2000 entries, and was a survey of groundbreaking contemporary southern art. She was featured in the 701 CCA SC Biennial in 2019 among 24 artists chosen from a group of 134 applications by well regarded South Carolinans. In 2017 she was included in two national print exhibitions: the Clemson National Print and Drawing Exhibition and VAE Raleigh’s Under Pressure.
Her work has received numerous accolades including Best of Show/Top Honors at VAE Raleigh’s Contemporary South in 2018, Small Works 2018: A Florence Regional Arts Alliance Juried Show and the Arts Council of York County’s 24th Annual Juried Show in 2013. Her work has been presented in solo and group exhibitions at institutions including Coastal Carolina University, Francis Marion University, The University of South Carolina, UNC Charlotte, USC Beaufort, Jones Carter Gallery and TRAX galleries in Lake City, SC, the Arts Council of York County, and City Art in Columbia SC. She currently teaches printmaking at the University of South Carolina.
My work is about relationships, and the complexity of closeness- the desire to separate from your past and return to it in the same breath. As a medium based in creation of the multiple, print becomes a method for creating structure. This framework, indulging a desire for order, creates space for disruption. Using prints as modular components allows the work to inherit visual information across pieces. I am interested in how this repetition of imagery and motif reflects recurring thought patterns and an unwillingness to move on.
Tedious handwork is an anxiety response, reflecting an obsessive desire for control, which is undone through woundings within the work. In a world of instant gratification, the act of sitting with heavy thoughts and repetitive processes for an extended time becomes a statement in itself, bringing that act to the content and context of the work.
This work is in many ways about the people who should be in the room, and are not there. It is about the presence of absence. A meditation on grief, the passage of time, the fleeting nature of joy, and the struggle to hold contradictory feelings simultaneously. It is about anxiety and the lack of control, the stiff upper lip and carrying on regardless.