The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, August 21, 2017


Unit London opens exhibition of works by Jake Wood-Evans
Installation view. Photo: AVS LONDON.


LONDON.- Faces are defiled and figures appear as apparitions. Subjects range from a ghostly vision of a society lady to a fading portrait of a once proud general and grotesquely disfigured admiral. Viewed together, the body of work is eerily reminiscent of an art collection of a great estate in the early years of the British Empire, but while the haunting redactions of once-heroic subjects might suggest the correcting gaze of a postcolonial sensibility, Wood-Evans’ interest lies more with the original artists and process than with the specific subject. With a strong focus on craftsmanship, his work draws inspiration from a diverse range of Baroque and Old Master figurative painters.

By scrubbing, scratching and erasing certain areas while building up others, Wood-Evans’ paintings are physically pushed and pulled out of the canvas. Thick layers of paint contrast with saturated oil on canvas, often laying the grain bare. His powerful use of light emerges from a loose and instinctive application of paint. Each work bears the marks of his journey and are just as fascinating when viewed up close as they are viewed in their entirety. Wood-Evans’ haunting works are both reminiscent of the pillaged originals while uncovering a psychological depth which encourages the viewer to look beyond the surface of the canvas and question the records of history.

Jake Wood-Evans is a devotee of eighteenth century art, as such; his most recent series of works have been significantly influenced by the great masters of the golden age of British painting, in particular, by the renowned portraitist and founder of the Royal Academy of Art in London, Sir Joshua Reynolds.

Eighteenth century British painting marked a turning point in the history of British art, when the nation finally developed its own distinctive artistic traditions of elegant portraiture and socio-political satire. Reynolds outshone his contemporaries in the genre of portraiture and often borrowed from or adapted the poses of his subjects from works of classical antiquities and the Old Masters. This convention of using historical references as inspiration for new bodies of work is the basis of Wood-Evan’s practice.

Wood-Evan’s is a consummate painter and his superlative use of colour and gesture is apparent in the intuitive layering of paint, dripping of oils and scoring of his works. Taking classical eighteenth century portraits as a starting point, Wood-Evans deconstructs and scrapes away the faces and bodies to reveal the essential individuality of these characters now relegated to history. In so doing the figurative becomes progressively more abstracted and exposes a timeless, existential vulnerability. This slow discovery of form and anima is an ongoing process, without a definitive view on its conclusion, Wood-Evan’s works instinctively to create ethereal, luminous portraits.

Jake Wood-Evans’ work can be found in private collections internationally, including collections in New York, Malaysia, London, Antwerp and Miami. He graduated from Falmouth University with a BA Hons in Fine Art. He was subsequently awarded a scholarship by the Royal Academy for classical study at the Prado museum in Madrid.






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