The Fergus O'Farrell studios were also the venue for his first One Man Show which opened on March 14th, 1966. The show does not appear to have attracted a great deal of attention. One newspaper critic sourly ended a brief review of the show with the words: "Mr. Wade is by no means to be written off; his best is surprisingly good. What he needs most perhaps, is a cold bath of self criticism. "
During the late 60's Wade also began to send work to the big annual shows - the R.H.A. and the Oireachtas, for instance. A certain amount of limited approval from the critics was forthcoming. Sales of pictures at this time remained almost exclusively to friends and acquaintances.
His second One Man Show which opened on the 18th November, 1968, marked his first real step towards recognition by the Irish art world. It was held in the little gallery of the R.H.A. in Ely Place. This building no longer exists, having gone the way of so many of Dublin's older buildings (at least it is being replaced by another, and very much larger art gallery). One of the members of the group of young artists, whose show preceded that of Wade's, remembers Wade's appearance in the gallery some days before their show was due to close. He was rather offended when Wade, having gruffly introduced himself, ignored the paintings hanging on the walls and proceeded to measure the room with a tape.
The exhibition area was simply a small, rather squarish room: facilities were limited virtually to lighting and hanging fixtures on the walls. In many ways it was the ideal venue for Wade's show (he became 'Jonathan' during this period and thus we will refer to him from here on). His paintings, which numbered only sixteen in all, had an intensely personal flavour about them. They tended to be sombre both in terms of theme and colour. The show, though not a roaring success in terms of sales or critical acclaim, was sufficiently powerful in its appeal at least to establish Wade as a new artistic personality worth watching. Press notices ranged from the frankly hostile to the ebulliant and he found himself, not altogether accurately, aligned with the Surrealists. "Perhaps it is all meant to be satirical, but if so, the satire does not come off. Instead he emulates the German Surrealists in a rather juvenile way." This from the Independent's critic, Adam Mitchell.