LONDON.- Scream Gallery
present the inaugural solo exhibition of Mark Evans. Powerful images of contemporary icons from the worlds of fashion (Naomi Campbell), politics (Putin), sport (Muhammad Ali) and graphic novels (The Hulk), have all been meticulously captured by the skilful hand of Evans. Yet these are not the traditional marks of paint on canvas, but the incisions of a blade on animal hide. These images are Skin Deep in more ways than one, as a metaphor for the superficial nature of fame and the airbrushed images of contemporary beauty that we are so accustomed to.
Such a visceral medium lends itself perfectly to the portrayal of these potent personalities. For the Scream exhibition Evans is exhibiting a new full-hide portrait of the inimitable Supermodel Naomi Campbell. Evanss portrait pays homage to Campbells legendary beauty, whilst at the same time depicting the primal, often masculine way in which beauty is viewed and desired
as if beauty is something that may be hunted or captured. Evans is also completing a full hide portrait of designer Alexander McQueen that he was working on prior to McQueens tragically premature death, feeling that this will be a fitting tribute to the fashion genius.
Mark Evans recently teamed up with Naomi Campbell for her Fashion for Relief 2010 event creating "Skin Deep" a portrait of Naomi based on the image by celebrated photographer Michael Thompson. The piece was sold at the glittering celebrity charity auction in London along with other items donated from event partners including: Lotus cars, jewellery by designer Stephen Webster, items from Vivienne Westwood and a dress by the late Alexander McQueen. In total the Fashion for Relief event raised more than £1.4 million for the White Ribbon Alliance Charity.
Animal hide lends itself perfectly to a striking image of Russias President Putin, capturing his machismo and confident gaze. An imposing image of the furious comic book hero The Hulk will be shown for the first time, his grimacing face and rippling muscles rendered skilfully by the blade of Evans in gamma green leather. The equally overpowering figures of legendary fighter Muhammed Ali battling Doug Jones in the ring, will be juxtaposed with The Last Enemy, a rendering of a burning skull reminiscent of a 16th Century Vanitas painting, with dramatic chiaroscuro.
Ten years ago Evans experienced an epiphany whilst attempting to remove a blood stain from a favourite leather jacket. Using the palette knife that was the tool of his trade as a fine art student at Middlesex University, Evans made a mark in the surface of the jacket that metamorphosed into a portrait of Jimi Hendrix, and there was no going back. Each piece is unique and it can take months to create the photo realistic etched-leather pieces that are Evans trademark. Evans sources skins from Scandinavia, South America and Italy, carefully selecting hides that lend themselves to the subject.
Working in skin is a visceral experience for me. Its something primal Im trying to understand. We live in this nano, synthetic reality. Our lives, our food
its all shrinkwrapped and sanitized
Leather is different, it was once a living, breathing creature, and in our digital age leather has an authenticity. Mark Evans
Although the use of knives to mark and carve animal skin go back to prehistoric times, Mark Evans is the only contemporary artist working in this manner, and he has a loyal client list queuing up to commission latest pieces, which can fetch up to £250,000. Evans capitalizes on the masculine nature of the material - and its association with Hells Angels, Rock n Roll, and gunslingers in the Wild West.