Pat Adams (American, b. 1928) was raised in Stockton, California, and began painting at the age of ten. She studied painting at UC Berkeley from 1945–49, where she first encountered the ideas of Hans Hofmann as she studied under his former students—Worth Ryder and Margaret Peterson O’Hagan, who had arranged for Hofmann’s migration to the States in 1932, among them. During her summers at Berkeley she pursued programs at the California College of Arts and Crafts (1945), the College of the Pacific (1946), and the Art Institute of Chicago (1948). In 1950, following her graduation from Berkeley the previous year, she attended a summer session at Brooklyn Museum Art School, remaining in the city after its completion. She received her first solo exhibition in 1954 at the Korman Gallery—later to be renamed the Zabriskie Gallery, which would continue to represent her through 2018. Her work was greatly motivated by her international travel during the 1950s: in Italy in 1951, after her first husband, painter and printmaker Vincent Longo was awarded a Fulbright scholarship, and in France in 1956, after she received her own Fulbright scholarship.
In the fall of 1964 she was invited by professor Paul Feeley to teach at Bennington college, where she joined the social circle of the famous “Green Mountain Boys,” including Kenneth Noland and Jules Olitski. In 1972 she married fellow Bennington professor R. Arnold Ricks, and they set off with her two sons on a four month journey through Egypt, Iran, Turkey, and all of Europe, which impacted her work significantly. She continued teaching at Bennington through 1993.
Her lengthy career has also included many teaching appointments at Yale, as both a visiting professor and artist, as well as the Rhode Island School of Design, among numerous other institutions across the country. She has received notable awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Academy of Arts and Letters, the National Academy of Design, and the College Art Association. In 1995 she was awarded the Vermont Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts. Her work has been the subject of over fifty solo exhibitions. She lives in Bennington, Vermont.