ADCO at Lines of Sight, 2018

ADCO at Lines of Sight, 2018


ADCO (Adam Newman) is a Los Angeles based artist. Using his iPhone, ADCO developed a new avenue for his abstract art, which has always featured architectural and geometric elements. Engaging in one of the first instincts anyone with a camera has experienced, he aimed skyward and clicked. It's what happens afterwards that makes his “Adcomatic” images so arresting. In a technological leap from his analog wall-hanging work of the aughts, ADCO began in 2016 to create digitally manipulated iPhone photographs of building facades and architectural details.

His images are square photographs, each divided into four equal parts with bold black borders, creating a grid that has become a hallmark of his work. A single image is flopped, doubled and mirrored, then reassembled into something kaleidoscopic and entirely new. Some buildings remain recognizable, with the perfectly symmetrical foursquare format offering a new perspective on a structure's shape and relationship to the landscape. Others become abstract, recalling everything from a psychedelic flower to a seemingly familiar corporate logo. The effect sometimes reveals a sensual perspective to otherwise rigid structures.

The palette is predominantly black and white with gradated blue and green from sky and trees. Some images look at first glance like pen-and-ink drawings. Others, like paintings. Concrete, steel, glass and sky converge into images that can bring to mind the sculptures of Lee Bonticou, the mazes of M.C Escher, the fashion design of Paco Rabanne.

Inspired by the photography of Julius Shulman and Weegee, ADCO developed a signature process to manipulate and print his images. In such he operates against the cliche of digital photography as fast, cheap and easy. While his Instagram account (@adcomatic) showcases his quatrefoil works, he has also replicated images in a tile pattern that further abstracts the original image.

“Architecture has always provided an overall creative guideline and source of inspiration for me that has flowed into every corner of my life,” says ADCO. His love of architecture began at a young age, so it was natural that his first camera, given to him at age 6, was put to use photographing Manhattan -- Mies van der Rohe's Seagram Building being a favorite subject. Lured by Hollywood, ADCO moved to Los Angeles in the 1990s and began a successful career as a television producer and executive and, more recently, as a forerunner in branding with a focus on new technology. His passion for architecture and art never waned. In his spare time he wrote articles for magazines about forgotten neighborhoods and mid-century obscurities. Devoting more time to his art, he began to be recognized by LA's art community. In under 2 years, he has been included in several gallery shows and juried exhibitions alongside well established artists.

Regarding his art, he adds: "I always try to avoid sentimentality.  I trick myself into thinking that using symmetry and the mechanics of photography makes everything feel scientific and unemotional. But the more precision I use, the more human and personal my art becomes. Symmetry is where I can feel real emotion."

ADCO was born and raised in New York. He is also a film and television producer.

All of the photos in this series are shot on iPhone.