Exhibition of works by Paul Evans and Hondartza Fraga

As part of the collaborative occursus research project, I have curated an exhibition of works by Paul Evans and Hondartza Fraga at DLA Piper Sheffield.

occursus is proud to present an exhibition of works by Sheffield-based artists Hondartza Fraga and Paul Evans at DLA Piper, Sheffield.

The works in the exhibition explore the ways in which we encounter and make sense of the complex world we inhabit. Produced in a variety of media (drawing, painting, sculpture and site-specific installation), they ask spectators to come close and immerse themselves in their mesmerizing worlds within a world; worlds which delight in changing, more or less perceptibly, with every minor variation in light, the passing of time and the position of one’s own body in front of the canvas or frame. Both Evans and Fraga interrogate the extremes of scale, locating the human somewhere between the immensity of the cosmos and unicellular microorganisms; between otherworldly cetacean gigantism and the tiny landscapes we seek to capture and contain in the snow globes that sit on our desks and shelves.

Paul Evans’ paintings are not landscape paintings in the traditional, representational sense; rather, in the processes and tensions of their very making, they mirror the artist’s own embodied relationship with the landscape. A keen climber, walker and surfer, Evans’ sense of the forces and muscular rhythms of nature, as well as his own physicality, manifest themselves in his engagement with the materiality of the paint, its malleability and resistance as it is scraped, poured, brushed and dripped on the canvas. The works are sublime in the art historical sense of the word: they convey something both of the beauty and the danger of nature. Beneath the surge of paint, barely corralled into the articulation of half forms, we perceive the traces of a myriad of drawings and marks, weathered and eroded by the artist’s perpetual and tireless revisiting of the canvas. It is in the dynamic irresolution of the paintings, in their oscillation between chaos and order, entropy and form, that the works finally open up beyond Evans’ own experience to produce a space for the viewer; a landscape to be contemplated, practised, traversed.

Hondartza Fraga explores universal themes such as exile, nostalgia, journeys and longing through the media of the map and the miniature. We produce maps to make sense of the unknown; an ultimately futile gesture (even in this, our technological age) to force the world to yield its immensity to us. Fraga’s Mappa series (2010-2011) beautifully illustrates our propensity and need to domesticate the infinite and strange. Its title is drawn from the Latin word mappa, which means napkin, tablecloth and map. The images resemble polar coordinate graphs of places which do not exist and are made by laboriously tracing and painting lace and paper doilies. Incandescent (2011) is a site-specific installation, produced specially for this exhibition. The landscapes drawn by Fraga on the wall, made of the play between shadows and light, depict industrial scenes of the kind we might see in Sheffield. Like her other works, Incandescent speaks to the fragility and evanescence of the landscapes we construct. Destined to disappear when the exhibition closes, they represent the fragments from which we create fleeting narratives of our world.

This exhibition is organised by the occursus research group at the University of Sheffield.

Amanda Crawley Jackson

For more information visit http://occursusexhibitions.wordpress.com

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About PlastiCités
Amanda Crawley Jackson lectures in French at the University of Sheffield (UK). She specialises in existentialist philosophy, urban spatialities and contemporary visual arts from France and the French-speaking world.

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