Bobby Neel Adams “Memento Mori”

Smack Mellon

poster for Bobby Neel Adams “Memento Mori”

This event has ended.

Smack Mellon presents Bobby Neel Adams’ photo series Memento Mori.

Bobby Neel Adams’ ongoing photo series, Memento Mori, pays homage to the many species that have been pushed to the brink of extinction and to their natural habitats left devastated by human progress. In the tradition of Vanitas paintings, Adams creates delicate compositions using found animal carcasses, dead insects, and flora indigenous to the region. The richly saturated still lifes memorialize these neglected lives and call attention to the rapidly changing and interlocked relationship between nature and human expansion.

My Memento Mori project follows the tradition of the 16th Century Dutch Vanitas painting movement, which took decaying objects as its subject matter, symbolizing the ephemeral nature of life and the certainty of death. Though none of the subjects I have photographed are endangered, they pay homage to the many species that have been pushed to the margins of existence and of their habitats by the relentless growth of human civilization. Humans build roads, chop down forests, and pollute waterways; very little consideration has been given to the animals we kill in the process.

The Memento Mori series also draws inspiration from 19th century American mourning portraiture, the tradition of making keepsake photographs of the recently deceased. Though this practice seems morbid to most now, posing and photographing dead family members was once an accepted part of the process of grieving.

To make these images I use road kill and other dead mammals, insects and birds to use as the subject matter. These specimens are composed with the local vegetation of the region to memorialize their short lives on this dying planet.

Bobby Neel Adams was born in Black Mountain, North Carolina and presently resides in Arizona on the Mexico Border. Adams has exhibited worldwide and his photographs are in the permanent collections of: International Center for Photography, Houston Museum of Fine Arts, Station Museum, diRosa Foundation, and the Norton Family Foundation to name a few. Adams has received grants and awards from the Aaron Siskind Foundation, LEF Foundation, MacDowell Art Colony and the Hermitage. His book Broken Wings was published by the Greenville Museum in 1997.



from September 24, 2016 to October 30, 2016

  • Facebook


    All content on this site is © their respective owner(s).
    New York Art Beat (2008) - About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Use