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UAL Research Online

It's Nothing Special

Evans, Geraint (2003) It's Nothing Special. [Show/Exhibition]

Type of Research: Show/Exhibition
Creators: Evans, Geraint

The Centro de Arte de Salamanca (Spain) invited Evans to present a retrospective of work undertaken between 1994 and 2003. In collaboration with the museum and Wilkinson Gallery, Evans drew together 30 paintings from a number of private and public collections and made new works such as ‘Tacoma’.

Evans’ concern is to develop a visual language that is specific and appropriate for an investigation of the suburban experience. Suburbia forms an enduring subject for writers, film makers, and artists and although notions of memory and place are recurrent themes it is the notion of aspiration and failure that are central to Evans’ practice. The project sought to consolidate Evans’ understanding of the depiction of the contemporary suburban condition.

Writer and critic Tom Morton was commissioned to write the essay, ‘It’s Nothing Special’, published by the museum in the illustrated exhibition catalogue. It separated Evans’ project from the practice of, for example, Eric Fischl, by arguing that it was ultimately preoccupied with painting as a methodology. The application of acrylic paint and its depiction of a constructed reality with reference to both the photograph and to didactic illustration was explored throughout.

The aim of the exhibition was to chart the development of this painterly, pictorial language as an appropriate descriptor of the suburban condition. Evans’ project promoted the status of low-fi and democratic practices - the health and safety manual illustration, the hobbyist painter - and developed them into a complex method of depiction and mark-making.

Work from this project was included in ‘Road Trip’ by Sally Shaw, published in a-n in February 2002. Works, including ‘Great Western’, were included in the British Council exhibition ‘Other Times’, Stone Bell House/City Gallery, Prague 2004; and ‘Las Vegas’ in ‘Painting People: The State of the Art’ by Charlotte Mullins (Thames and Hudson, 2006).

Other Contributors:
Other (Writer)Morton, Tom
Additional Information (Publicly available):

Geraint Evans Research Statement:

It is the perception of landscape as something both familiar and exotic, a construction of memory and fantasy, a harbinger of myth and history and a sum of images both false and superficial (WJT Mitchell 1994: 263) that has informed my recent practice which encompasses narrative driven paintings and drawings. The writer Lisa le Favre has argued that the "idea of what landscape should be is bound up with the ways in which it is represented back to us through culture, be it painting, photography, film, literature or television", bound up in architypes and conventions (le Fauvre 2000: 89).

In his introduction to 'Landscape and Memory' Simon Schama writes that the 'wilderness was as much the product of culture's craving and culture's framing as any other imagined garden. 'Referencing Yosemite National park he observes how, despite the snack bars and car parks that service the visitor, we still imaging the landscape as the depopulated wilderness depicted by the photographs of Watkins and Adams and the paintings of Bierstadt and Moran. He continues:

The very act of identifying (not to mention photographing) the place presupposes our presence, and along with us all the heavy cultural backpacks that we lug with us on the trail.' (Schama 1995: 7)

Tourism encourages the pursuit of the 'authentic' experience and often promises an encounter with the 'natural' landscape. Elizabeth Diller and Ricardo Scofidio write: "often a sight must struggle to resemble its expected image.the postcard [for example] has become the fixed referent after which the mutable sight models itself. "(Diller and Scofidio 2005: 103)

Within the city, daily encounters with nature take the guise of domestic gardens or the man made approximations of natural landscapes in high streets and shopping malls, where fig trees, fibreglass crags, pebbles and bark chippings form a now familiar hybridized landscape, with marble, glass and stainless steel.

Whilst writing about the work of Dan Holdsworth, Angus Carlyle used the term 'synthetic nature' to describe the contemporary urban and suburban landscape, where 4x4's (named 'Voyager', 'Explorer' and 'Range Rover') guided by GPS systems and driven by well prepared individuals in techno-fibre clothing, roam no further than the out of town shopping mall, which after all might be suggestively named Lakeside or Bluewater. (Carlyle 2000: 7-11)

My practice aims to utilize painterly narrative fiction to further understand our relationship with nature, how we might attempt to shape or simulate landscape in order to form something idealistically 'natural', framed within an urban or suburban context.

Your affiliations with UAL: Other Affiliations > RAE 2008
Colleges > Wimbledon College of Arts
Date: 5 April 2003
Related Websites: http://www.wimbledon.arts.ac.uk/35279.htm
Related Websites:
Related Exhibitions: British Council exhibition ‘Other Times’, Stone Bell House/City Gallery, Prague 2004
Event Location: Centro de Arte de Salamanca, Spain
Locations / Venues:
LocationFrom DateTo Date
The Centro de Arte de Salamanca (Spain)2003
Date Deposited: 27 Nov 2009 19:41
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2010 09:42
Item ID: 1791
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/1791

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