At first glance, David Adey's found paper pieces are visually stunning. Arranged like mandalas, each tiny piece of paper is pinned delicately to the board in an exact, calculated position. Looking closer, the pictures of the individual elements begin to reveal themselves as hundreds of human body parts, lasercut to form hearts and figures. Using vintage magazines and images pulled from Google, Adey hunts for the exact hues and shapes to craft his wildly intricate patterns. Resembling naturalist cabinets filled with dessicated butterflies, pieces of people become almost scientific curiosities carefully placed in pleasing arrangements.
With the patience of a Buddhist monk, David Adey tediously searches for exact, unaltered images to place in his pieces. Hundreds of arms, legs, hands, feet, and lips in varying positions and colors are cut and pinned to foam board in a manner that suggests a mandala or stained-glass window. Enjoying the time it takes to find just the right element and the restrictions it places on his art, Adey spends hours hunting for pictures and placing them just so.
“For me as an artist, it’s a matter of developing or choosing your own constraints. Finding them and embracing them as a tool to make the work,” Adey says. “Without constraints, you don’t have anything. That’s the whole design process—working within constraints.” he says.
Drawing upon themes of mortality and resurrection, the physical forms pinned to a stark, white base recall Christian themes as well as scientific or medical experimentation. The two-dimensional puzzle pieces come together to create a geometric image of beauty that focuses more on the collective whole than individual identity.
An arts professor at Point Loma Nazarene University by day, the San Diego-based artist worked full-time in his studio to create these pieces, which culminated in a solo show at Scott White Contemporary Art in January of 2014.