Derrick Adams (1970) is an artist who works in a variety of mediums, including painting, sculpture, collage, performance, video and sound installations. His work seeks to explore the influence of contemporary culture on our lives and the intersection of the African American experience with art history, American iconography and consumerism. Adams says, “most of my work resides in this idea of how outside influences impact the construction of self-image”.
Adams created Colorbar Constellation, a series of multimedia collage works depicting television screens, in 2016. The works are intended to expose the inadequate representation of African American figures in the visual world. They are made from panels of dashiki cloth fabric and paper from TV Guide covers featuring Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith and The Cosby Show. Works from Adams’ 2016 Colorbar Constellation series have received institutional attention via an exhibition titled Transmission at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Denver in 2018.
In discussing the theme of television, Adams told interview magazine, “I was always fascinated with the power that artists had at that time to create these illusionistic structures that mimicked reality around them in some way, and were able to get emotional responses from people and enlighten them about things they thought were important. In our generation, television has that same godly presence; it’s always there, always visible, seeing you as much as you’re seeing it.”