Justin Adian, 'High Test', 2021 oil enamel on canvas and felt

‘Carousel’ by Justin Adian @ Lowell Ryan Projects

September 17, 2021


Mr. Justin Adian presents us with his most recent exploration in the medium of felt with his Carousel opening at Lowell Ryan Projects. With more than a dozen wall canvases, we have the presentation of the comfort and relaxation of inexactness, as a soothing relief from the endless pursuit of perfection. His selection of colors themselves do not yearn to be boisterous with our sensations, furthering the judgment that his art is one of embracing imperfections.


Justin Adian, ‘High Test’, Oil enamel on canvas and felt 39.5″ x 21.5″ x 2.5″. Courtesy of the artist and Lowell Ryan Projects.


In each of his compositions there exists a satisfaction in the lack of perfect flushness to each of the polygonal shapes. We cannot even proclaim these to be geometrical, for that would signify a rigorous exactness – the kind we find with the construction of the great pyramids of Giza, or of a Manhattan skyscraper. Instead, we don’t have a violent rejection of order in the cosmos, but simply an acceptance, if not resignation, in the shapes that the eternal flowing currents of fate form. Notice, immediately, therefore, there is a distinct difference between the human conception of exactness, and one of Nature’s judgment. For while we just considered the par excellence ordering facts of the mathematics of geometry, this is a judgment made by humans. The Natural Law routinely develops objects for our senses to perceive which would appear out of shape and inchoate. Yet who are we to judge what perfection is?


Justin Adian, ‘Camaro’, 2021 Oil enamel on canvas and felt 42.5″ x 16.5″ x 2.5″



And it is with this emphasis we can see brilliantly the meditations in each canvas and its organizing patterns, possibly willfully at rest with unevenness and irregularity. Camaro, Half Lap, Monarch, etc. all demonstrate such festive creativity which is bold enough to declare the artist’s truth as subservient to a higher self-moving power – that which the Taoists would name as Tao. To further with this reticence, Mr. Adian selects colors which are not bombastic to the subject’s lens. There is no restless anxiety broaching the visual space which would otherwise stunt the appreciation of the nuances to each modest ornamentation devoted to passivity. It is indeed a tribute to smoothness, with the reflectance of light revealing to us the physical bodies and their salubrious encryptions rather than a strongheaded blunting of our mind’s eye. To rest our eyes away from the worries of the demands of perfect self-control and to just enjoy the ride – this is a commanding ideal: If you want to become straight, let yourself be crooked. –Tao te Ching, 22.


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