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Ric Evans

Artist Statement

Fall 1999 and Winter 2000.

My recent paintings have led me to believe in the codification of colour: painting revealing a measure of its own objectness; the very mystery of it being. The painting takes something from the artist and in turn has its own presence.

I like to think of the colour as being in the paintings not on the surface, like tattoos.

Colour also functions as a factual component. One colour is equal in importance to the other. Colour is chosen intuitively by weight and presence and not necessarily by its coded, commercial, or representational properties. Mapping the colour to give the paintings its own oneness. Making clear the colour's intentions.

Recent paintings have led me to believe in the metaphysical possibilities of my art­ a painting revealing a measure of its own objectecness­ the very mystery of just being there.

In these new paintings I borrow shapes from my environment and displace them. The shapes in turn have a presence all their own. More of a physical than an imaginary reference.

Rather than thinking of my colours as being on surface of the painting, I prefer to think of colour as in the painting: like tattooing the colour into the surface.

In my work, colour functions as a factual component, one hue being equal in importance to any other hue. Colour is chosen intuitively by weight and by presence, not necessarily by its representational properties, commercial or natural.

Can a painting be a substitute for a "real thing" that arouses emotions? A cloudless view: the mirror and the other.

Some salient quotations:

Evans achieves the daring consensus of theory and image, visual thrust and integrity of conception that has always characterized the best art of this kind.
John Bentley Mays, "Evans Gives Rigid Geometry a New Push", The Globe and Mail (Sept 18, 1980).

Ric: Malevich never painted a true square in his whole life.
R: It was the idea of a square.
Ric: I measure things out. The propositions arise out of consistency with my personality... I think I've come to measure as a matter habit.
Interview with Ric Evans by Robert Bowers, "Ric Evans, Mercer Union, Nov 23­Dec 11, 1983", Vanguard (Spring, 1984).

Evans seems to be using the more purely formalist geometry of his earlier paintings to create semi-recognizable signs that refer beyond the physicality of the canvas to the specific forms of nature, affirming in the process the tacit, formalist belief that visible phenomena are structured according to absolute, universal laws. Andrew Schulz, "Ric Evans at the Grunwald Gallery", C Magazine, (Winter 1987).

Common to all of the new paintings is their exaggerated sense of doubleness, twoness, of the residual symmetry that appears to have existed once and then been dislocated, perhaps the function of the renegade action of the painter's taste upon the givens of geometry. Gary Micheal Dault, "Focus on Ric Evans", Canadian Art (Spring 1989).

Whatever the theoretical presuppositions Evans brings to his practice, the methodological constraints he imposes upon it, or the perceptual and arithmetical rationale he uses in making paintings, the fact remains that his final concern is with the observer approaching the painting simply as an object: a peculiarly loaded object to be sure, but an object nonetheless, and one that yields its secrets only in our experiencing of it.

While the 'attitude' towards the empirical here is difficult to identify in formal terms, integral to Evan's best painting is what we might well term an 'existential' claim...that is based on, and implicit in, and empirical methodology and an intuitive descend into the world of our concrete, lived experiences, which means returning to our experiences in a pre-objective world. Evan's painting language may be said to equate with a sort of "descensional reflection."
James D. Campbell, "Concerning Constructive Strategies" from the catalogue to the exhibition Abstract Practices, The Power Plant, (March 1991).

L.G.: So what do you want the outcome to be with the viewer? R.E.: I want the viewer to watch the aura that I'm giving off with the work: the sense of order, the sense of beauty in painting, the colour, the history. And to ask questions. Why is someone doing this? What is there for me to see? It's like when you meet someone you find interesting and you ask questions about them very carefully, then you start getting close to them...the work.
Interview with Linda Genereux (May 22 1991)

The self, terrible and constant, is for me the subject matter of painting.
Barnett Newman, (1965)

Art should raise questions. The true artist helps the world by revealing mystic truths.
Bruce Nauman, (1968)

Desire often results from understanding the process. Understanding may be gained through observation of existing chains. The critical opinion provides opportunity for observation of a secondary link.
Stephen Kaltenback, (1970)

The Centre for Contemporary Canadian Art
The Canadian Art Database: Canadian Artists Files

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