Canadian artist Kim Adams is known for his “assemblage” sculptures incorporating readymade and prefabricated materials in fun and uncanny ways to explore social structures, the implications of technology and mobility, and the divide between life and art.
Earth Wagons is a miniature world – a terrain of culture on trailers consisting of small vignettes of narrative activity constructed using HO-scale (toy train size) model parts of 3.5 mm to 1 foot. The miniatures resemble fictional worlds and imaginary landscapes—a kind of collage in three dimensions. Earth Wagons depicts a dysfunctional model-train world that contains the possibility of its own ruin with a wide variety of threats to nature and ecological catastrophes. For instance, if you look closely you will find: chemical spills; a nudist camp; a mountain landfill; a bear attack; toxic mutation monsters; carnivals; an overpopulated fishing hole; a bird sanctuary; a glue factory; bush fires; and summer homes—all desperately trying to co-exist with each other.
In this way, Earth Wagons acts as a microcosm of the post-industrial landscape. Adams’ wry sense of humour links specific environmental problems to the broader issues of overpopulation and land misuse from which they stem. People endlessly work and play amidst the ecological disasters they have spawned. Confining the world to three small wagons, Adams reminds us that the natural world is limited and cannot withstand human abuses indefinitely.