This artist literally deconstructs reality
"I'm one of those people with a theory on everything," John Adelman said, describing the trait that fuels both his attitude as a professor and analytical, deconstructive style as an artist.
Adelman, an adjunct art professor at Lone Star College-Montgomery, is an acclaimed visual artist and a recent finalist for the Hunting Prize, the largest art award in the Western world. Though he didn't receive the prize, his work with what he calls conceptual drawing, in which he disassembles the parts of an object and traces and labels the pieces to create a new image, has been recognized throughout Texas and around the world.
His drawings, he said, explore the connection between a whole and its components, and the question of whether the parts or the finished product are more important. Adelman's submission for the Hunting prize, titled "8,825," captured each individual piece of a bush, taken apart, spread out, traced and labeled.
The post at Lone Star is the result of a long process of honing his lifelong passion for art into a profession.
"I was always drawing, since the word 'go,'" Adelman said. "It was just a matter of figuring out what I was going to do with it."
He attended Ohio State University and studied design, but was discouraged after he used the wrong size of lead to sign his name and lost points on an assignment.
"I realized that probably wasn't the right thing for me because I want to make up my own rules," he said. He worked in an Ohio factory throughout the 1990s, exhibiting some of his work, but never taking his art beyond an amateur hobby.
Adelman's sister, Amie, an associate professor of fiber arts at the University of North Texas, encouraged him to apply to a graduate program at her school. He taught two classes as part of his program and found that he enjoyed the interplay with students, and after graduation and a move to the Houston area in 2006, he continued to teach, finding a home at Lone Star.
"I like being put on the hot seat and figuring up a game plan to solve some issue. And with 18-year-old kids, it's nothing but issues, so teaching is always an exciting time," Adelman said. He also believes that there's a social responsibility involved in teaching for those to whom the profession comes naturally and enjoyably.
"Sometimes you don't have a choice in teaching. If you're good enough, you have to do it," he said.
Adelman recently has shown work at the Dallas Art Fair, Darke Gallery in Houston and the Mutlu Sanat Odasi gallery in Istanbul, Turkey. He has upcoming shows, featuring work with images created from patterns of his own handwriting, at the Houston Fine Art Fair in September and at the Diane Rosenstein Gallery in Beverly Hills, Calif.
NAME: John Adelman
COMMUNITY CONNECTION: Adelman is an adjunct professor of art at Lone Star College-Montgomery.
FAST FACT: Adelman's dream is to become renowned enough as an artist to dot the 'i' in the "script Ohio" before a football game at his alma mater, Ohio State University.
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