"Art should be guided by our own inner truth'

John Adams is best known for his Contemporary Expressionist Paintings. Beauty and nature have been a constant priority to John.His work often reflects political, architectural and cultural life. His work in both acrylics and oils caries from realistic representations as in “Blackjack Castle 2008 (in the Cork City Council collection) to expressionist and abstract forms as can be seen in the”The Deep Blue” 1996 and “Triffid Nebula” 2006.

There are paintings done with wild brushstrokes and vivid colors , some are literal explosions of color almost three dimensional coming out towards the viewer. John has developed a unique multilayered technique of painting which he uses in particular for seascapes as in “Hogg’s Head”1999 (displayed currently in the Crawford Municipal Art Gallery Collection).

Johns artistic career as taken him to London and Spain where he has painted theatre sets for the Royal Shakespeare company, the Barbican Theatre, the New Shakespeare Company, the Walt Disney Company and Expo 92 Seville. He has produced many private commissions and painted many murals. He has been campaigner for artists rights and an arts events organizer in both London and Cork.

An Exponent of the role of the artist in society, John seeks the truth in events that have shaped the 20th and early 21st centuries. His work spans the years before and during the Celtic Tiger in Ireland. “Patrick’s Bridge” 2008 highlights the demolition of old Cork Architecture,”Homeless” 2017 records the effects of the recession on the most vulnerable citizens in Irish society. The painting of the RMS Titanic 2016 coincides with Johns move to the town of Cobh, Co. Cork.

Johns early work was heavily influenced by the Pre-Raphaelite painters and by fellow Irish born artist Francis Bacon. Over the last ten years John was compelled towards realism in a quest to improve skills and to record the destruction of old heritage buildings in Cork. Portraiture is a compelling way to express the human spirit and Johns portraits seems have a vitality and passion unique to him and rarely seen such as “Luke Kelly” 2014.

More recently John has returned to more imaginatively expressive paintings inspired by the subconscious mind. However his talent lies in his heart and soul in the quest for truth. Painting freely and exploring visions in his imagination and from feedback from his surroundings is what he does best.

John’s paintings are in many prominent collections such as the Crawford Municipal Gallery, Cork City Council, The Royal College of Surgeons, Cork City Library, President Michael D Huggins and many more private and public collections.

Short overview statement of artist and current painting project:

Hi my name is John Adams, I am a painter who works in acrylics. My work combines abstract expressionism with representation.

Currently my paintings are about environmental and ecological issues. Recently working on a series titled ‘Animals Matter’ high-lighting extinction and how animals are struggling to survive because of humans. I was painting reptiles because they have been surviving so many millions of years, they look ancient and they are kind of asking the question, what are you doing? Why are you destroying the World?

Since the Covid-19 lock down I have been using dumped materials ( Corrugated metal sheets ) removed from beaches, this further highlights the disastrous amounts of human waste in the oceans and what animals have to deal with.

I am currently engrossed in a project started since the Covid-19 Lock down, and spending more time walking the beaches of Cork Harbour in the Cobh area. I have been appalled at the human detritus everywhere and the amount of it. So many types of plastic and other rubbish. I encountered much corrugated metal sheets rusted and discarded in such a haphazard way on the beach close to the town.

I was struck immediately how interesting these metal sheets were one could easily see how colour and images could enhance them, I have started using them as my canvas, they are not blank its almost like they are have been weathering away for years waiting to be ready to be painted on. This is something I really am excited about on many different levels. Visually they are stunning, the colours of the rust and the metal are striking and inspire. I have been painting sea animals highlighting their struggle to survive in the ocean.


2010 – The Florence Academy
1980-81 National College of Art and Design Dublin
1981-82 Dunlaoire College of Art and Design Dublin
1983-84 Crawford College of Art and Design Cork
1984-85 Limerick College of Art and Design


2018 Solo Exhibition – The Origin Gallery Dublin
2018 Solo Exhibition – Ballymaloe Grainstore Cork
2017 Solo Exhibition – Skylight Gallery Bandon Cork
2016 Solo Show – Ciesa Gallery Castelvittorio, Imperia Italy
2015 Solo Show – Maritime Gallery Cobh, Co. Cork
2014 Group Show Ranelagh Arts Centre, Dublin
2014 Solo Exhibition – Cork School Of Music
2013 Solo Exhibition – Cork School of Music
2012 Artists Residency – Cill Railaig Artists Residency
2011 Solo Exhibition – Lissard Estate Skibbereen
2011 Solo Show – Hacketts Schull
2011 Joint Show – Temperance Hall Kinsale
2011 Group Show – Lavitt Gallery Cork
2010 Solo Show Cronins Gallery Crosshaven
2010 Studied at Florence Academy of Art, Italy
2010 Solo Exhibition – Cork Vision Centre of Paintings of Cork
2009 Group Show – Kinsale Arts Week, Cork
2009 Artists Residency – Ballenskelligs, Co. Kerry
2009 Commission – Bodega Cafe, Coal Quay, Cork
2008 Solo exhibition – Steven Pearse Gallery, Cork
2007 Painting the Cork Harbour Series of Paintings
2006 Painting at Liguria, Italy
2005 Solo Exhibition Launderette Gallery, Cork
2005 C2 Crawford Municipal Gallery Cork
2005 Opera House collection exhibition Cork
2003 Solo Show Mallow Garden Festival Cork
2003 Solo show Isaacs Hotel Cork
2003 Solo show Tig Fili Gallery, MacCurtain Street Cork