Community Post

Adam Putnam

The Hedreen Gallery is pleased to introduce new work by New York artist Adam Putnam, showing now through March 21. This marks the first installment of a trilogy series that comprise the exhibition Void Blank Blank, a yearlong investigation by three individual artists of the gallery’s distinct character as both an exhibition space and a theatre lobby.

In the spirit of highlighting this duality and the performativity of space, Void Blank Blank begins with a provocative light-based sculpture. It is a new work in Putnam’s ongoing Magic Lantern series, created specifically for the Hedreen Gallery, focusing on its most idiosyncratic architectural detail—the red portal leading way to the theatre. Untitled, (2009), continues Putnam’s use of magic lanterns to blur the lines between that which is present and void in a space. It consists of a light source projecting an image created on small panes of glass through a series of lenses onto a wall. In this case the latent image becomes the red hallway’s ghostly double.

An ancestor to the more recent slide projector, historically magic lanterns were a theatrical device used for projecting images and creating early special effects. In this way, Untitled is most befitting the inaugural exhibition of Void Blank Blank. Its poetic intervention, devised from the most economic of means, fetishizes the elements of architecture that define the transitional space dividing the theatre from the art gallery. It draws viewers deep into the emptiness of an endless shaft, and underscores the dualism at play.

When asked to do a new work for the Hedreen Gallery, I have to say I was seduced by the red hallway, which cannot be described as anything other than an orifice. This in fact was what sparked my curiosity. I instantly wanted to mirror the space somehow—to create a doppelganger. In this piece a dark receding space is constructed through the use of parallel mirrors that project an infinite regress onto the wall. -Adam Putnam

Adam Putnam, (b. 1973 New York, lives and works in New York), received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Parson School of Design in 1995, and his Master of Fine Arts from Yale University School of Art in 2000. He has exhibited widely on an international level with his work being included in exhibitions such as the 2008 Whitney Biennial and The Uncertain States of America jointly curated by Daniel Burnbaum, Hans Ulrich Obrist, and Gunnar B. Kvaran. Notable venues he has shown at include: Art Basel, Basel Switzerland; PS 1. Contemporary Art Center, NYC; Artists Space, NYC; ZKM, Germany; Creative Time, NYC; and Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Putnam’s work has received much critical success, having been reviewed in: Modern Painters; Flash Art; Spike; Time Out NY; Artforum; Art Papers; NYArts Magazine; and The New York Times. He is represented by Taxter & Spengemann.

“Imagine the gritty Vito Acconci of the 70’s compounded into the architecturally-obsession Acconci of today, and you’ll have an idea of what Adam Putnam is up to. Desire is the subject of his art, and edifice is the object of his desire—that’s the work’s poetic conceit anyway; the magic is in how real Putnam makes it.” (Abraham Order, Flash Art, No. 225, July – September 2007. p. 132)

The second and third installments of Void Blank Blank are:

Wynne Greenwood (Seattle); April 2 – June 27

TM Sisters (Miami); July 9 – October 3

The Hedreen Gallery is located in the Lee Center for the Arts on the Seattle University campus, at 12th & Marion. Regular gallery hours are Tuesday-Saturday 1:30-6:00pm (excluding holidays). For more information, call 206.296.2244 or visit

0 thoughts on “Adam Putnam

  1. Thanks for an enjoyable read. Just wonder if you would add the address, hours and dates for this show at the end for easy reference?

  2. thanks for tip! just added the info for you. hope you can swing by the gallery soon.