Jack Evans’s Degree Show work takes its overall inspiration from formal gardens. At first glance his constructed scenes and sculptural pieces might look familiar, but on closer viewing a different world is revealed, one which includes a rich visual language of statue-like characters in strange luminous scenery.
Jack says, “I’ve been working on creating images of topiary gardens and outdoor scenes that may initially seem a touch neo-classical but are hopefully a bit subversive and funny. Topiary scenes have been a new way for me to explore abstract shapes within the realm of figurative painting,” he says.
Jack has mainly been working with acrylic paint on paper. He says, “It’s a cheap way to produce a lot of work, less legitimate than oil paint and canvas but less fussy too. I really like the artificialness of acrylic and the synthetic quality of the colours.”
Recently he has made the jump from working on a flat surface to working in three dimensions. He’s had to learn a new skillset to enable him to do so. He says, “Working in 3D has been a challenge, but I’ve had help from the sculpture tutors here at ECA. I’ve learnt how to cast concrete and plaster as well as how to use the plasma and laser cutters, so I’ve been using the workshops a lot more.”
Jack says his dissertation research has directly influenced his studio work over the past academic year. “My dissertation is about how advertising is cemented in visual culture and how insidious it can be. It’s an integral part of the visuality of modern life.”
He continues, “For example, the M&M [confectionary brand] figures have become so easily recognisable. They’re bizarre and I wanted to bring this into my studio work. You can see similar shapes in both my paintings and sculptural pieces.”
He admires the work of cartoonists like Gary Larson (the American cartoonist famous for The Far Side comic strip). Jack says, “I like to inject a bit of personality and humour into my work and The Far Side has a subversive element that’s interesting. I’ve tried to capture the same kind of thing in my work.”
Reflecting on his time here at ECA, Jacks says, “What I’ve enjoyed most has been curating group exhibitions with other students and showing our work together. Nothing particularly comes from this, in fact you lose money through the whole process, but it’s important to do it nonetheless.”