Nick Evans' most ambitious exhibition to date opens at Tramway in Glasgow

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Nick Evans' most ambitious exhibition to date opens at Tramway in Glasgow
Nick Evans, "Oceania", 2011, Fibre reinforced plaster and oak on screenprinted wooden panels. 4 x 6 x 1.6 metres. Installation view Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, courtesy of the National Galleries of Scotland.

GLASGOW.- Glasgow based sculptor Nick Evans makes solid, organic forms sculptures from white plaster which combine abstract and figurative elements, and convey and convey a humorous exuberance or visceral energy. Often Evans’ works have a functional aspect or appear to be interacting with their surroundings. The plinths and dioramas for the works are highly decorative, becoming elaborate stages in which the sculptures act as performers.

The eclecticism of Evans’ practice explores the historical relationship between sculpture and the applied arts, incorporating a diverse range of processes using both traditional and new materials. Whilst exploring the physical parameters of sculpture and the tensions between form and material, sculpture and plinth, mass and gravity, Evans also points to more complex cultural and ideological relationships. In particular the Western fascination with notions of the exotic and ‘other’. Motifs from ancient and lost civilisations are recurrent themes in his vocabulary – many of the plinths and printed backdrops for his sculptures incorporate aspects of Mayan, Egyptian and prehistoric symbolism.

At Tramway, his most ambitious exhibition to date, Evans presents a newly commissioned body of sculptures within an environment which is part sculpture ‘theme park’ and part lost civilisation. ‘Solar Eyes’ features a new body of plaster sculptures orchestrated in such a way that they each respond to their own environment, the most ambitious of which is a large architectural complex which mimics the geometry of a Mayan temple. Ancient symbolism is also invoked through an ambitious wall drawing running the length of the gallery and a number of colourful printed backdrops, plinths and floor panels.

A key theme in the exhibition is the ‘solar eye’ of Egyptian mythology, a dangerous and autonomous entity whose power was celebrated in temple rituals, with many of the sculptures share in the symbolism of the prehistoric earth goddesses, a constant motif in the work of renowned British sculptor Henry Moore.

Rather than being merely decorative veneers, these symbolic and art historical references in Evans’ sculptures are often lampooned and undermined by the absurd and highly elaborate modes of display. In this context, the sculptures themselves become quizzical, self-reflexive and critical of their own existence.

Born in Mufulira, Zambia in 1976, Nick Evans studied at at Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Fine Arts, Stockholm, and lives and works in Glasgow. In 2008 he held a residency at the European Ceramic Work Centre in the Netherlands and was awarded the National Galleries' inaugural Artists' Fellowship Programme in collaboration with Creative Scotland in 2011.

Selected solo exhibitions include Anti Autonome, Mary Mary, Glasgow (2010), Use History Autonome, Washington Garcia, Glasgow (2009), Primary School, Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2008), Rational Slab, Mary Mary, Glasgow (2007), Abstract Machines, Tate Gallery, St. Ives, Cornwall (2006), Some Newer Formalisms, Sorcha Dallas, Glasgow (2005), Remember Old Pineapple Face, Glasgow Project Room and Lumumba is Dead, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2002).

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