Words by Others

“Instagram is a particularly tidy way of visually constructing one’s life. Pictures of your face, your cat, and the #sunset you are watching, artfully filtered and slotted into searchable categories, are presented in a feed to your ‘followers’ (a strangely religious notion), instantly, within seconds of taking a photo. Those ‘following’ online are often strangers, like the young man who is the unwitting subject of Rough Diamond through the narrative of his Instagram account. His photographs of travel, treasured objects, cars and parties are both a mundane document of his experiences and a window into a certain kind of lifestyle and culture…….. “Carla Adams’ sculptures replicate objects seen in the original photographs: a surfboard, a pile of UDL cans, a street sign (apparently received as a birthday present). They are deliberately unconvincing as duplicates, wonky and acrylic-painted like amateur stage props. Plucked from their contextual surroundings these loaded items are non-sequiturs, simultaneously building up a material depiction of a life (or at least lifestyle), and highlighting the inherent falseness of an Instagram reality.”

– Anna Dunnill on ROUGH DIAMOND (Full essay here)


“The Internet is not separate from reality, it is more of an expansion of the field of social interaction, and importantly, it is a product of collaborative development. Carla Adams’ practice is a process of documenting and exploring interactions she has through various social networking platforms. As people are supposedly afforded anonymity online, guards are dropped, and honesty surrounding the desires of individuals prevails. In the work Self Portrait as Adult Baby, Adams is seeking to fulfil the specific desires yearned for by users of Craigslist by taking self portraits inspired by the ads posted. Her body of work that spans consideration of Internet dating sites to these classified advertisements from Craigslist is concerned with the relationships developed between individuals and communities online. Adams sees her role not to pass judgement, but rather to hold up a mirror to society, making physical manifestations of these intangible digital interactions. The act of making a physical art object in response to the Internet, questions the separation of these realms.”

– Melissa McGrath for Black White and Read


“Adams has created a dysfunctional peep show where the viewer is uncomfortably placed in the familiar role of being in front of a desk-top computer, the arena for our every days and for many their nights of escapism. It is fitting that this work emanates from Perth, Western Australia. For many years known as the most remote city in the world. Adams has critiqued the notion of remoteness and isolation through the Internet, where we are all cyber tourists in life. Our lives are no longer bound to our everyday routines. Our ‘other’ lives more rich and potentially expressive than anything we could have imagined or attained in the real world. Our ‘avatars’ are only beginnings in this new age of global connectivity.”

– Jeremy Blank on Contemporary Courtship (full essay here)


“Artist Carla Adams and I have treat our subjects as dolls subjected to a process of caricature. This allows us to take control over the subject’s representation in a virtual environment. We draw over subjects and emphasise different qualities in order to portray their weaknesses in a digital domestic system. This domestic system, for both of us, has largely involved online dating. Our transformations are caricatures that imagine structures as broken and forlorn rather than functioning. Much of Adams’ recent works have involved her encounters with men through Omegle; she takes images of the people she interacts with via webcam, and paints over them so as to mask their identity but emphasise their flawed nature.

In Very Sad Men (2012) the subjects are anonymous but the nature of the colour and shape in each image is blob-like, crude and unflattering. The colours are sickly or pale. These caricatures emphasise sadness in each subject from the subjective point of view of the artist, being the only feature that sings through each. Adams has also recently constructed her caricatures in 3D, using papier maché to create lumpy, sagging versions of her online encounters. The effect of these caricatures is to render them powerless as objects on the other side of a screen; reversing a relationship that would normally position the female as the object of a male gaze. In this scenario, the men become objects as artworks that can be positioned or played with like dolls in order to subvert the new domesticity of social media. By imagining this environment differently through caricature, the sadness of anonymous webcam interaction is emphasised and critiqued by the artist.”

– Tom Penney on Very Sad Men (2012)