From Parchment To Canvas, Artist Calls On Classical Influences

With The Beatnix Series From Parchment To Canvas, Artist Calls On Classical Influences

Painter Ginette Adamson’s First American Exhibit At The Beatnix Café

(Oklahoma City, OK)  Art is, at base impact, simple. Yet like an atom swirling in the center of the universe, art represents complicated, thoughtful, inspiring and empowering expression to the artiste like Ginette Adamson.

“I believe, as we read in the book Le Monde reste à peindre by Marina Kamena and Serge Clément, that ‘The world is yet to be painted’,” says Adamson in her lovely and inviting French accent. “ I will keep trying to paint it in my own humble way.”

As her statement belies, speaking through the canvas has not always been her most frequented avenue of artistic expression. The 66-year-old has connected artistically, and for much of her life, through literature and teaching. Her academic career began as a young woman in Haiti and has taken her on a journey through the U.S., Germany, France and back to America and ultimately Wichita, Kansas where she met her husband in 1965 on the campus of Wichita State University where both were professors.  After retiring as Chairperson of the Department of Modern & Classical Languages and Literatures at Wichita State University in 2003, she joined a painting class in Strasbourg and since has made painting primary in her daily life.

A select exhibit of Ginette Adamson’s work is currently on display and for sale at the Beatnix Café, 136 Northwest 13th Street in downtown Oklahoma City. A special artist’s reception will be held on Thursday, December 17th from 5:00 – 7:00 pm at the café and is free and open to the public.

Adamson’s work, inwardly inspired by poetry and written word, nevertheless evokes distinct and powerful abstract images when outwardly expressed to canvas. She currently has art exhibits in three countries, at L’Ilozen in Strasbourg, France, the Kunstausstellung at Bibliothek der Stadt Kehl, Germany and in the humble little coffee shop her daughter Stephanie introduced her to in Oklahoma City, The Beatnix Café. The Beatnix Café is site of her first U.S. exhibit where the pieces will remain in entirety through December 30th. Her work will be displayed at The Beatnix Café on a semi-permanent basis afterwards and is available for sale.

“In November 2008, the day after we arrived here from France, our daughter Stephanie invited my husband Carl and me for lunch at The Beatnix Café, telling us that we will discover a place, which offers the kind of atmosphere we enjoy in a French cafe. She was absolutely right. We felt right at home.”

The Beatnix Series is the central focus of this exhibit, which also features playful and powerful work from various periods of her life. Fans and supporters of Ginette Adamson are invited to a meet the artist December 17th from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm for an artist’s evening of music, discussion and Beatnix Café food and beverage. You can also find her many mid-days sitting at a table with her husband enjoying a French Press and lunch at The Beatnix Café . Beatnix Café is located at 136 Northwest 13th Street near the corner of 13th Street and Robinson in downtown Oklahoma City. For more information, visit the Beatnix Café web—site at or call (405) 604-0211 for more information. You can also find Beatnix Café on Facebook and Twitter.

“I knew right away that this cafe would be an appropriate place for my first exhibit in Oklahoma City.  I left OKC last June with the project of painting a series with the Beatnix Café in mind. The four paintings of the special Beatnix Series were painted in my studio in Strasbourg, France, and final touches were added in my home in OKC.”

It has only been since retiring as a full-time professor in 2003 that Adamson has turned her outward expression on a daily basis to canvas rather than parchment, and while she paints only “in a corner” at their home in Oklahoma City, she calls on the inspiration of French literary greats while in her other home  in Strasbourg, where she does the bulk of her painting.

“If I do not paint I become frustrated and spend the time away from painting thinking about what I want to paint next,” says Adamson. “Jean-Paul Sartre in La Nausée / Nausea helped me understand and face up to the meaning of life. Raymond Roussel in Locus Solus taught me that art must come from the inner self and that the artist must always manipulate the words or the raw materials until all possibilities for transformation have been explored and thoroughly exploited by his/her creative mind.”

Adamson’s love of poetry and literature has not left her upon retirement, of course. Ginette remains active in the international literary community through her seminars as Emeritus Professor of French at Wichita State, not to mention through the thousands of students her passion for the written word, and art’s connective threads, has illuminated.

“I hope that I have armed my students with a love for artistic contemplation and sensitivity to the forms and signs that exist in all forms of art.”

Thus, to know Adamson as a painter is to realize her inspiration comes from the written expressions of literary greats throughout human history. The titles of her works are often related to such inspiration, such as “Correspondances”.

“It was the (19th Century) poet Charles Baudelaire who molded my artistic inclinations,” says Adamson, who along with husband Carl Adamson, a Kansas native whom she met while studying at Washington University, splits her residency between France and Oklahoma. “The line in “Correspondances” ‘Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent/ Perfumes, sounds, and colors correspond’ will forever remain in my memory as a call to open my eyes to all that surrounds me, for all specimen in nature correspond with one another.”


La Nature est un temple où de vivants piliers
Laissent parfois sortir de confuses paroles;

L’homme y passe à travers des forêts de symboles

Qui l’observent avec des regards familiers.

Comme de longs échos qui de loin se confondent

Dans une ténébreuse et profonde unité,

Vaste comme la nuit et comme la clarté,

Les parfums, les couleurs et les sons se répondent.

II est des parfums frais comme des chairs d’enfants,

Doux comme les hautbois, verts comme les prairies,

— Et d’autres, corrompus, riches et triomphants,

Ayant l’expansion des choses infinies,

Comme l’ambre, le musc, le benjoin et l’encens,

Qui chantent les transports de l’esprit et des sens.

Charles Baudelaire


Nature is a temple in which living pillars 

Sometimes give voice to confused words; 

Man passes there through forests of symbols 

Which look at him with understanding eyes.

Like prolonged echoes mingling in the distance 

In a deep and tenebrous unity, 

Vast as the dark of night and as the light of day, 

Perfumes, sounds, and colors correspond.

There are perfumes as cool as the flesh of children,

Sweet as oboes, green as meadows

— And others are corrupt, and rich, triumphant,

With power to expand into infinity,

Like amber and incense, musk, benzoin, 

That sing the ecstasy of the soul and senses.

Trans — William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954, )

(For more information on Ginette Adamson or the Beatnix Café, visit their web-site at or email owner Dave Filkins in English or French at or by phone at (405) 604-0211. Members of the Media: To set up an interview with the artist or for high quality images of the artist and/or exhibit please email the curator/media contact, Brent Weber at )

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