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Kerri Evans New Works

JOHANNESBURG 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg 2196 Private Bag 5, Parklands 2121 South Africa Tel: + 27 11 788 4805  Fax: + 27 11 788 5914  Email: gallery@everard.co.za  www.everard-read.co.za CAPE TOWN 3 Portswood Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town Tel: + 27 21 418 4528  Email: ctgallery@everard.co.za  www.everard-read-capetown.co.za


Kerri Evans

New Works

Everard Read 11 March – 4 April 2010


Of paint, light and liquidity

Hazel Friedman

In this age of cybernetics, cynicism and simulacra, there

carry their own hierarchy and impose an often unequal

while Evans’ paintings begin as surface verisimilitude, they

yoking oneself to the One. It is simultaneously a form of

exists the misconception that art should say big things

power relation between artist and sitter, subject and

evolve into a layered latticework of dark and light tones, of

sacrifice, identification and consecration.’

about big issues. It is a discourse driven by ‘the idea’ and

object. But even here, Evans’ approach to her models is

luminescence and opacity, a body of images that evolve in

lubricated by the nutrients of parody, commentary and

liquid. In this exhibition, she primarily paints three women,

relation to one other …

critique. The paintings of Kerri-Jane Evans move against this

each of whom exudes an irregular, unidealised beauty.

flow. And the term ‘flux’ is central to her vision because,

There is Melissa, who lives on the Paarl farm where Evans

She works — or rather reworks — on all simultaneously. And

inextricably linked to a wider identification than ourselves.

like the constant shifts of light and colour that determine

has resided since her return from India, and who bears a

each work is inherently, deliberately incomplete. In places

The Yoga Philosophy, which is directed towards higher

and regulate the cycles of day and night, colour and

startling resemblance to the artist herself. She is solid, salt

her mark is stylised and linear, only to be subverted by her

spiritual achievements, is peculiar to the Hindus, and no

brushstroke in her paintings ebb and flow, and her forms

of the earth — naked and utterly unadorned. Then there is

loose brushstroke and unpredictable palette. For example,

trace of it is found in any other nation. The country of

seem to morph from solid and substantial to plumate and

Fiona who is sleeker, more exotic, whose beauty alternates

in one of the paintings she depicts Fiona in a loosely draped

origin of Yoga is undoubtedly India, where Evans lived

ethereal. It is as though Evans is reluctant to impose too

between feral and the catwalk variety. And there is Taryn

cadmium red robe. The emotive intensity of the red need

for eight years, before returning to South Africa in 2009.

much authority or ownership on the paintings. Which is

— the youngest — whose visage develops, as though ageing

not provoke a symbolic association but could simply suggest,

But while her aesthetic has evidently been inspired by

exactly the point.

She never completes one painting before starting another.

But, she cautions, it is a neither an intellectual nor egotistic approach. It is simply about a consciousness of the world all and at once, through lived experience, which is

slightly in each portrait. Yet the three women also morph

more viscerally, flesh and blood. And, from the focal point of

this philosophy, her loose technique is antithetical to the

‘I start each painting literally not knowing where or

into one another, becoming variegated facets of the self.

her face where the brushstroke is more controlled, it spirals

painterly style of ancient India, with its arduous attention

how it will lead,’ she explains. ’The colours emerge from

In their nakedness they are unavoidably erotic. But

outwards in more random strokes until the edges of the

to detail. ‘In the past I have tried to incorporate more detail

the process as does the composition. And in these works,

when a leg is raised it is also to let in the light and when

form appear to dissolve.

into my work, but it felt too contrived,’ she reflects. ‘In a

movement is central because perception is never static.’ She

a hand rests between thighs it is as much a gesture of

adds: ‘The image should be allowed to constantly change.’

consciousness as it is of arousal.

Of course this is art’s ultimate paradox because painterly

Evans’ depicts her singular pensive forms against a stark

representation, particularly in its figurative form, entails

background, usually devoid of contextual references. In this

the act and art of freezing, and of rendering stillness out of

sense her works remind one of the paintings of Stephen

movement. Portraiture and figurative painting, in particular,

Conroy, the Scottish contemporary realist painter. But

‘I want the paint — through mark and colour — to speak for itself,’ she says. ‘The medium then has the possibility of

way, I want the paintings to be devoid of inheritance.’ And for Evans the greatest challenge is to accept the

developing its own language. Paint is not a separate tool,

paradox of incomplete endings. ‘The image never reaches

but rather possesses its own energy.’

completion; rather it stops at the point where it is taken

Evans likens her painting to the word ‘Yoga’ which has the same root as ‘yoke’. ‘In Indian tradition, Yoga entails

away, almost like a small death. She adds: ’Life is constantly moving, intangible and so liquid.’


Red Fiona  Oil on canvas  120 x 120 cm  2010


Blue Hand  Oil on canvas  120 x 120 cm  2010 Son  Oil on canvas  120 x 120 cm  2010


Yellow Girl  Oil on canvas  120 x 120 cm  2010


Melissa Stopped  Oil on canvas  100 x 100 cm  2010


Blue Hand  Oil on canvas  120 x 120 cm  2010


Light Story  Oil on canvas  100 x 100 cm  2010


Contraction  Oil on canvas  100 x 100 cm  2010


First White  Oil on canvas  100 x 100 cm  2010


Between  Oil on canvas  100 x 100 cm  2010  Detail  Work in progress


Hidden Self  Oil on canvas  50 x 50 cm  2010  Work in progress

Winter Portrait  Oil on canvas  60 x 60 cm  2010


Taryn  Oil on canvas  100 x 100 cm  2010  Work in progress


Small Light  Oil on canvas  55 x 75 cm  2010  Work in progress

Hounded  Oil on canvas  60 x 60 cm  2010  Work in progress


Letting Pink Go  Oil on canvas  80 x 80 cm  2010  Work in progress

Cornered  Oil on canvas  80 x 80 cm  2010  Work in progress


Recovery  Oil on canvas  120 x 60 cm  2010  Work in progress


Kerri-Jane Evans 1967 Born, Johannesburg BFA Fine Art (distinction in painting) 1991—1992 Taught at Mmbana Cultural Centre (then Mmabatho) 1991—2000 Worked on commissions, portraits, and copies of masters. 1992—1993 Traveled and worked in Madagascar. 1993—2000 Taught at: The Johannesburg Art Gallery — art teacher. The Field and Study Centre Parkmore — art teacher. The Sandton Civic Gallery — drawing and figure studies. 2000 Kerri lived with her two daughters in India. She worked as a full time painter and traveled several times a year between India and South Africa where she taught painting. 2002—2008 Held six solo exhibitions at the Everard Read Gallery and participated in many group exhibitions in South Africa and abroad. 2008 Returned to South Africa and is currently living and working in the Western Cape. 2009 Great South African Nude Exhibition at Everard Read (Group Show)

This exhibition catalogue is published in conjunction with the exhibition New Works at the Everard Read Gallery, Johannesburg 11 March — 4 April 2010 Published in 2010 by Everard Read Gallery (Pty) Ltd 6 Jellicoe Avenue, Rosebank, Johannesburg Copyright © Everard Read Gallery (Pty) Ltd Copyright © Kerri Evans Copyright © Photographs, Michael Hall All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means, without prior permission from the publishers. isbn 978-0-620-46441-3 Designed by Kevin Shenton Printed by Ultra-Litho (Pty) Limited, Johannesburg


Kerri Evans 2010