About Adam Reynolds

Adam Reynolds: sculptor, curator and teacher

Adam Reynolds was born in London in 1959, and worked as a sculptor, curator, teacher and art advisor. Adam exhibited his work regularly, and in 1984 founded the Adam Gallery in south London which he managed until 1997. He was active in the disability arts sector and served on the Board of Shape Arts both as a Trustee (1986-2005) and Chair (1990-1997). The Adam Reynolds Memorial Bursary was set up at Shape Arts in 2007 after his untimely death in 2005 to provide opportunities for disabled artists to develop their work.

Adam worked with lead, copper, steel and glass

His work moved from predominantly figurative pieces in the 1980s (see his gargoyle figures in NDACA) towards more abstract, geometric and larger scale work in the 1990s. A common thread throughout his work was his desire to “express apparent contradictions and to help others enjoy the contradictory nature of the universe”. He did this most obviously, for example, in his lead series, which included a lead balloon and kite.

Facing life experiences with humour

His sense of humour was always at the forefront of his approach to life and art. At the DA21 Conference in Holton Lee, Adam watched gleefully as his installation, Pandora’s Box, a locked display case filled with glass marbles with the key hanging next to it was unlocked by Barbara Lisicki and 3,000 marbles thundered onto the wooden floor and scattered everywhere.

Adam said of being disabled: “I am clear that my greatest strengths stem from the fact of being born with muscular dystrophy, apparently my greatest weakness.”

He favoured using scrap materials and found objects, making his viewers reconsider the value and beauty of overlooked and rejected ‘stuff’. He explained this tendency as being “founded on my lifelong experience of disability and the desire to challenge the commonplace assumption that this renders life all but useless and without value”.