PLATTSBURGH — Adrian Carr’s twin passions are art and music.
The Grammy-nominated recording engineer’s exhibition, “The Hidden Art of Adrian Carr: A Retrospective 1984-2007” opens Saturday at the ROTA Gallery and Studios in Plattsburgh.
“When I was growing up in Buffalo, I had to choose between art and music. I was doing art classes at the State Teachers College with Debbie Lloyd. And at the same time, I was doing music,” Carr said.
Lloyd, his high-school art teacher, invited him to attend evening classes at Buffalo State.
“What’s interesting, I still have one of my first oil paintings, (and) that will be at the ROTA Gallery,” Carr said. “It’s a field on my grandmother’s farm. When we say a retrospective, it’s really a retrospective. It’s going back to my early adolescent days in Buffalo.”
“The Hidden Art of Adrian Carr” features mostly oil paintings but also watercolors and sketches.
For oil, he needs space and time. His watercolors date to the 1980s when he was living in Washington Heights in New York City.
“I did a series called the ‘Subway Series’ of train scenes from the ‘80s. It wasn’t glamorous. It wasn’t ‘Sex and the City’ at all. It was really grimy and dirty. The color of that grime and dirt made for some interesting color in water painting.”
A decade later, Carr was living in Nyack and had space. There, he created large-scale oil paintings such as “El Rico Habana.” The subject matter is a cigar.
“My style evolved at the time, so I was painting more abstractly,” he said.
Sept. 11, 2001, was his next turning point.
“I had my recording studio in New York City at that time,” Carr said. “One of the paintings in the show is called ‘Black Squares’ and was my reaction to 9/11. That’s a really big painting. That’s sort of like my ‘Guernica.’”