Art appraiser Jeanne Parkin says, “Kim Adams is one of Canada’s most original makers of sculpture. Using readymade industrial components right off the shelf or floor of the hardware store, he constructs eccentric machines that, in a very amusing and inventive way, are presented, not simply as whimsical inventions, but as metaphors for the perpetual dilemma of everyday life.” (Parkin, 1999)
Kim Adams has an affinity for Canadian Tire and while shopping there he collects ideas and parts for his works. Dual Curbing Machine is a symmetrical, kinetic sculpture made of industrial materials and looks like it could have come off of an industrial assembly line. Constructed on a metal trailer/wagon, the sculpture has large satellite dishes connected to motors on either end of it, and displays two pylons on either side of the three steps used to access the platform. Here a viewer can observe the spinning dishes when they are plugged into a power source. It is painted in bright and child-pleasing colors and brings to mind ideas of play and pleasurable experiences related to carnivals and fairs.
Dual Curbing Machine is a smaller replica of Curbing Machine, a 1986 sculpture Adams displayed on the busy streets of downtown Toronto. Six hours each day for a month he shared his machine/sculpture with the public – free of charge. He encouraged his audience to interact with the sculpture, observing their reactions to the spectacle he created. Each person reacted in their own unique way. Andy Patton describes Adams’ works this way: “abandoned they are sculpture; tended they are rides, amusements, vendor’s vehicles.” (Patton, 1991) By placing his non-commercial sculpture in the street among the street vendors, Adams brings to mind ideas related to commodity consumption and at the same time he is encouraging leisure activities in busy urban centres.
From his experiences with street culture and urban life, Adams also creates objects that reference the automobile and ideas of home. Since for many people, their vehicle is like a second home, today’s cars are equipped for comfort and entertainment, complete with television screens and stereo systems. On the other side of this equation is the growing number of homeless and nomadic people who will never own a vehicle or property. Curator Andy Patton notes, “These two modes – mobile and the immobile, the vehicle and the home – correspond to the two fundamentals of contemporary urban life: the car and the house. But though most of his works “begin” in one or another of these modes, almost all of his works consist in the condensing of these two into one object: the transformation of vehicles into homes and homes into vehicles.” (Patton, 1991)
Artistic influences upon Adam’s work could include the work of Duchamp and the Dadaist movement of the 1920‘s. Like Adams, artists from that time experimented with motion, machines, and industrialization.