The Foundry Art Centre, 520 N. Main Center, St. Charles, MO, called for entries on the theme "Joke's On You" and artists from across the country responded, including local writer and photographer CB Adams. Jurors Carrie M. Becker and Christian Lawrence chose two of Adams's three photographic submissions for this all-media show that explores "how artists highlight the humor and lightness in a society filled with gravitas."
Adams's silver gelatin black and white photographs, I Wanna Be Dirty and Laughing Matters, were taken in antique malls in downtown St. Louis and Santa Barbara, CA. "I'm always drawn to antique shops, especially the really good ones where the owners creatively arrange the items. I do not believe in staging items myself. I only shoot things as I come upon them, a photojournalistic approach drilled into me at the University of Missouri School of Journalism," he explained.
Adams would have missed the opportunity to submit work for The Joke's On You if he hadn't attended a Halloween party hosted by his neighbor, Pierre Borgeade, a painter, who also has work in the exhibit. Borgeade urged Adams to consider submitting so they could be "neighbors" on the walls as well as in real life.
"That night, after all the trick-or-treaters had gone home, I reviewed the call for entry that encouraged levity through visual expression," Adams said. "As someone with a wide irreverent streak, I liked that the theme, and when I saw that Carrie Becker was the juror, I knew I had to submit."
Adams was familiar with Becker's work. Since 2010, Becker has been building dioramas of home interiors and photographing them so that they appear life-sized. Her 2011-12 series, “Barbie Trashes Her Dreamhouse”, went viral and was featured on more than 50 websites, including Huffington Post and Time. Adams was also intrigued by Lawrence's accomplishments as a standup comedian, sketch comedy performer, writer, host and producer.
"Her work reminds me of a line from Woody Allen, that 'Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television.'" Adams said. "I had never met Becker, but from her art, I understood her slightly askew, off-kilter way of looking at the world."
"Joke's On You" will be showing from Dec. 15, 2017 through Jan. 26, 2018 with an opening reception on Dec. 15 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. I Wanna Be Dirty has overall dimensions of 20 x 24 inches and Laughing Matters measures 16 x 20 inches. Each is available for sale through the gallery.
Adams is a St. Louis-based professional writer, short story author, and fine art photographer. He has exhibited in numerous St. Louis-area gallery exhibitions at The Foundry Art Centre, Art St. Louis, and St. Louis Artists' Guild, among others, as well as nationally in Boston, Sacramento, New York, Salt Lake City and elsewhere. In 2008, Adams was featured in the “Unrefined Light: Images by Plastic Cameras and their Friends” exhibit at The Foundry.
Becker has an MFA in sculpture from Kansas Sate University and a BFA in photography from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale. She is represented by Shearburn Gallery in St. Louis. In 2015 she began a new series that depicts abandoned mansions in disrepair. Lawrence has been been involved with many types of comedy since the year 2000, and has performed throughout the United States & the UK. His comedy variety show, Bare Knuckle Comedy, is the longest-running independent comedy show in St. Louis. In 2015, Lawrence created History Shmistory, a show in which comedians perform comedy as a historical figure, in costume, in character. The show has toured throughout the world.