Founding Director, Consultant Curator
Clive Adams was born in London in 1947. He studied at Bath Academy of Art (1966-70) and at Brighton Polytechnic before becoming lecturer in printmaking and foundation studies at Derby College of Art (1971-74).
He was gallery co-ordinator at Arnolfini, Bristol (1974-79), then the largest contemporary arts complex outside London, and worked on the move to its present habourside location. He initiated and hosted a series of major exhibitions including Howard Hodgkin, Ed Ruscha (1975), Jan Dibbets, Richard Long (1976), Robert Smithson (1977) and Carel Visser, Boyd Webb (1978). Many of these exhibitions travelled to other major galleries in Britain.
As director of Mostyn Art Gallery (1979-85) he supervised the restoration of the gallery, built in 1901, establishing it as Wales’s leading public exhibition space. Particular major exhibitions included Barry Flanagan, Edward Hopper (1981), J D Innes, Augustus John and Derwent Lees (1982) and David Nash (1983). For the exhibition ‘Turner in Wales’ (1984) the gallery was given a Prince of Wales Award.
He returned to London as managing director of Fabian Carlsson Gallery (1985-89). This new commercial gallery dealt in international contemporary and modern art, including works by De Kooning, Miro, Picasso, Rauschenberg and Warhol. It also represented younger European, American and Japanese artists. He took particular responsibility for the work of Andy Goldsworthy and was closely involved in his projects in Japan and at the North Pole.
Since 1974, Clive Adams has been a member of various committees including the arts panels of South West Arts (1974-77) and North Wales Arts Association (1979-85), Executive Council, Welsh Sculpture Trust (1982-85) and Fine Art Advisory Committee, British Council (1983-85). He is a member of the International Association of Art Critics and the International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art.
In Britain, he compiled the catalogue raisonnes of Andy Goldsworthy’s photographs (1989) and Peter Randall-Page’s sculpture (1992) for the Henry Moore Centre of the Study of Sculpture. In Japan, he co-ordinated the exhibition ‘Sun, Wind and Rain:the Awakening of British Landscape Painting’ (1992) with major loans from the Tate Gallery and other national collections. He was appointed one of the commissioners of Korea’s first international biennale (1995), being responsible for selecting work from the Middle East and African countries.
In 1997, he and his wife moved to Devon with the intention of establishing the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World, devoted to exploring new understandings of our changing relationship to nature through the arts. In 2006 CCANW entered into a new partnership with the Forestry Commission in Haldon Forest Park nr. Exeter where it opened a Project Space. In 2013 it moved its base to the University of Exeter and Dr Daro Montag became Co-Director. From 2013-5 it delivered the ‘Soil Culture’ project, becoming the largest UK contribution to the UN International Year of Soils 2015. Responding to an invitation by Schumacher College, CCANW moved to the Dartington Estate in Devon in 2016 and Dr Richard Povall became its third Co-Director. Sally Lai became a Trustee in 2017.
Clive also held a Research Post at the University of Plymouth (1998-2002) and was Curator of Exhibitions for the South West of England Regional Development Agency (1999-2004). Curated exhibitions include ‘Love, Labour and Loss: 300 Years of British Livestock Farming in Art’, commissioned by Carlisle City Council for showings in Carlisle and Exeter (2002) and ‘The Impossible View?’ for The Lowry, the latter winning the Museums and Heritage Award for best UK temporary exhibition of 2003. He curated a second major exhibition for The Lowry ‘The Art of White’ (2006) and was one of the judges of the Jerwood Sculpture Prize in 2005.