Stars of San Diego: David Adey

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Weird Science

CUTS OF LAMB PAINSTAKINGLY SEWN back together to form a whole animal, displayed in a freezer; a football pierced with drywall screws, yet seemingly animated and breathing with the help of a respirator; hundreds of kitschy ceramic lambs broken up and reassembled into a single, misshapen mother sheep. Are these spiritual messages of resurrection or cautionary tales of Dr. Frankenstein-like meddling?

Draw your own conclusions says their creator, David Adey. Then look again.

“Often the best art that I enjoy looking at, I can’t always figure it out completely,” he says. “It has multiple messages depending on how you look at it, depending on the context. I think all good art should do that.”

An associate professor of art and design at Point Loma Nazarene University, Adey, 40, is currently on a one-year sabbatical, “living the dream,” he says, of doing nothing but letting his imagination run wild and creating art. (Look for a solo show next fall at Scott White Contemporary Art in La Jolla.)

And if his past work is any indication — such as laser-print collages of celebrity body parts or the engineering marvel that was “John Henry,” featuring rows of precariously suspended books — the results should be exhilarating. He is already branching into new directions, inspired by authors such as Stephen Hawking and Neil deGrasse Tyson, producing work that contemplates time, space and mortality. His piece Omega Man, for instance, consists of 12 synchronized “doomsday” clocks that are inexorably counting down 1 trillion seconds, making
zero hour more than 30 millennia away. 

“It’s kind of this existential approach of trying to cast myself 32,000 years into the future,” says Adey. “Growing older, I think I have less patience for trite work. I think my work is dealing with some bigger universal ideas than I was 10 years ago.”

Stars: By Mark Hiss Photography by Martin Mann

Categories: Lifestyles