Born in London in 1957, Richard Adams first exhibited his paintings in 1982 in Wellington. Since then, the Auckland based artist and accomplished jazz violinist has become nationally and internationally renowned for his work, exhibiting in Tokyo, Sydney, New York, London, Hong Kong and Dubai, as well as locally.

Richard Wolfe comments on Adams’ paintings, "If abstract art can be fitted into two general categories, depending on whether its elements are derived from either natural or entirely non-representational forms, then Adams' work hovers somewhere in between." While Adams initially takes his inspiration from the subtle colours, radiant horizons and fine geometry of landscapes, rather than paint these directly, he consigns them to memory, allowing them to morph gently through filters of time and feeling before emerging onto canvas or paper.

Surfaces are important and evocative in Adams' work, inspired by the effects of nature on man-made things like rust, weathering, dirt, dust and decay. Adams' surfaces are constructions of layer upon layer of paint, showing through like faint shadows, or glimpsed through scratches and scrapes. Hamish Coney writes, "There is a softness, a sort of frescoed approach to the choice of colour and surface treatment that enable the monumental blocks of the work to relate internally with a wonderful elasticity of weight."