Nick Evans’s bold sculptural installations bring together the imagery and motifs of ancient and lost civilisations with a keen interest in the historical relationship between sculpture and the decorative. His works reinvigorate sculpture by creating new and dynamic forms, combining traditional techniques and materials with a distinctive visual language.
Evans’s signature white plaster sculptures combine both abstract and figurative elements. The finished works bear a resemblance to limbless slumped human bodies, tree stumps or found objects. They draw heavily on the works of British sculptors from the mid-twentieth century, most notably Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth. The artist works with a limited number of moulds, beginning with a single shape which is cast repeatedly and then the casts joined together to create a multitude of possible outcomes. When works are displayed, Evans often leaves the joins visible, allowing a scarred trace of the production process to remain.
The artist often places his plaster forms within elaborate decorative environments – atop tables, on tiled floors, within wallpapered rooms, on revolving plinths – producing a stage or setting for his works. He draws his imagery from a wide range of sources. Solar Eyes, his exhibition at Tramway, Glasgow in 2013, brought together references to ancient Mayan and Egyptian pyramids as well as the twentieth-century French sculptor Niki de Saint Phalle. By removing symbols from their original contexts, previous meaning is lost and new associations can be made. Certain motifs crop up time and again within Evans’s work, in particular the bone and the tadpole. The tadpole appears within his 2011 installation Oceania – composed of three limb-like plaster forms, precariously perched on roughly sawn oak stools and positioned like a family group. A brightly coloured patterned patchwork of screen-printed wooden tiles, lain in a roughly symmetrical style, provides a stage for these works. The ordered nature of this floor design provides a contrast with the unruly plaster bodies and wooden bases above. For GENERATION, The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery and Museum has invited Evans to produce a large-scale work for its contemporary gallery space. He has used the museum’s World Cultures collection as a starting point and inspiration.