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12 Sep 2010

ADAM STRAUS: AIR + WATER or: Everything's Fine Until It's Not, opening September 14 at Nohra Haime Gallery

ADAM STRAUS: SHELTER ISLAND IN FOG, 2009, oil on canvas framed in lead, 33 1/4 x 35 1/4 x 2 1/4 in. 84.5 x 89.5 x 5.7 cm.

ADAM STRAUS: OIL SLICK, 2002, oil on lead and canvas encased in steel, 59 x 74 1/8 x 2 in. 137.1 x 188.2 x 5.1 cm.

ADAM STRAUS: AIR + WATER or: Everything's Fine Until It's Not
Nohra Haime Gallery


OPENING: Tuesday, September 14, 2010 from 6 - 8 p.m. DATES: September 14 - October 23, 2010 FOR MORE INFORMATION: Ana Maria de la Ossa at 212-888-3550

Ana Maria de la Ossa

Nohra Haime Gallery
730 Fifth Avenue, Suite 701
New York, NY 10019

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20th Anniversary Exhibition with the Gallery

'People don't preserve what they don't respect or revere.'
- Thomas L. Friedman, 'Hot Flat, and Crowded'

An exhibition of seascape paintings by Adam Straus, AIR AND WATER or: Everything's Fine Until It's Not, will be on view at Nohra Haime Gallery in New York from September 14 through October 23, 2010. Marking the artist's 20th anniversary with the gallery, the exhibition juxtaposes 21 recent paintings with a seminal work from 2002 depicting an oil spill in the ocean, resulting in a moving statement about man's relationship to the natural world. A fully illustrated catalogue with an essay by Amei Wallach, art critic and filmmaker, will accompany the exhibition.

The exhibition title, AIR AND WATER or: Everything's Fine Until It's Not, was inspired by the recent oil spill disaster in the Gulf. Straus began painting the results of oil spills in the early 1990s, and while the recent paintings focus on the sublime in the natural world, a sense that something is wrong seems to linger. The paintings are frequently encased in heavy lead frames, which suggest a toxicity occurring right outside of the picture, and contrast the spirituality of the natural world with the reality of man's seeming indifference to caring for it.

As Amei Wallach notes: 'Adam Straus has painted oil spills for many years. His more recent paintings don't need to spell it out. They are moving, elegiac, almost tragic, as they evoke the transcendent qualities of the nature that is at risk.'

Straus offers a poetic reverence for the most basic elements of the natural world while referencing the idea of a tipping point and exponential change when the environment is trashed to a point where it becomes unredeemable. 'The oil spill was a dramatic reminder that these entities (the oceans and the atmosphere), which we still often mistakenly think of as undamageable, are in fact very vulnerable. 'All of a sudden, these paintings that I'd been working on for two years, mostly for their more spiritual aspect, had a very different feel,' Straus notes. 'Stopping the spill was great, but as someone wrote, 'It was like curing pneumonia in a cancer patient.''

Shelter Island in Fog, 2009, an oil on canvas encased in lead, presents the sheer beauty of the soft, silent and enveloping fog, which also transforms and distorts the seascape. A painting on paper entitled Air & Water: Damaged, 2009, depicts the ocean on a gray day as if it is a damaged photograph. The edges are yellowing and parts of the 'photograph' appear torn, suggesting that something has gone wrong.

The dark blues of the North Fork of Long Island are contrasted with the extraordinary turquoise hues of the Bahamas in Green Turtle Cay, 2009, and Pelican Cay, Bahamas, 2009. While both of the oils on canvas depict an island paradise, their lead frames may suggest something else.

Work by Adam Straus can be found in museum collections as well as corporate and private collections. Born in Miami in 1956, Adam Straus lives on the East End of Long Island.

For a PDF catalogue, please email:

DATES: September 14 through October 23, 2010
RECEPTION: Tuesday, September 14 from 6 to 8 p.m.
NEW ADDRESS: 730 Fifth Avenue at 57th Street, New York City
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ana Maria de la Ossa at 212-888-3550