While the work of Mark Adams (1925-2006) and Frank Lobdell (1921-2013) may not be similar in terms of subject matter, the artists share a desire to explore how pattern and color develop a composition. In addition, they both made their way to California where they spent the better part of their artistic careers producing work and teaching.
Born in Fort Plains, New York, Mark Adams formally studied painting, but first worked as a tapestry and stained-glass designer. In the 1950s, he married printmaker Beth Van Hoesen (also featured in RAM’s collection) and they settled in California. Adams eventually shifted to watercolor, printmaking, and acrylic painting as his primary forms of expression. Drawing on his experience building images with large planes of color, Adams created realistic, color-infused compositions. He favored everyday subjects, such as still lives—reflecting on items that could be both personal to him and understandable to others.
Raised in Minnesota, Frank Lobdell served in WWII then made his home in California. He was an exacting and intense figure—known to mutter the phrase, “nothing worth anything is easy.” Although primarily a painter, Lobdell also produced lithographs, etchings, and monoprints. He participated in weekly figure drawing sessions with famous San Francisco Bay area artists, including Elmer Bischoff, Richard Diebenkorn (also featured in RAM’s collection), and Nathan Oliviera. Lobdell was familiar with representing the human form. After his wartime experiences, and as his career developed, he sought to explore humanity in broader terms—utilizing a “vocabulary of archetypal themes and abstract symbols.”