Nick Evans: Rational Slab (5 stars)

Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Sat 14 Apr

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SCULPTURE

Nick Evans’ last exhibition at Sorcha Dallas was one of the highlights of 2005. But the new work on show at Mary Mary, created after his enormously successful residency and exhibition at Tate St Ives in 2006, further develops many of the formal and philosophical ideas that he has been investigating for the last four years or so. These new sculptures betray a confidence of approach, revealing Evans as one of Scotland’s most talented sculptors.

Evans has always played with dichotomies in his work - geometric and curvilinear, the abstract and the organic - which creates a tension between the works when exhibited. That split could also be felt in Evans’ praxis as an artist, where the theoretical explication of the work stood strongly but separately beside the sculptures themselves. But rather than the sculpture illustrating a theory, or a theory explaining a sculpture, the new work is more integrated. The work justifies itself.

This new found confidence can also be found in the scale of his work; no longer are they presented on or supported by plinths. Evans’ ‘investigation into the horizontal’, where fragmented then reconstructed forms could be read as inelegant supine figures hovering over metal frames, is further developed in his ‘Worm’ sculpture. The form, like a helix, spiralling backbone or metaphysical gyre, coils along the gallery floor, rising up as its colour moves from red and green to blue. This is sculpture as a slice of time, an anti-narrative abstract unit, a quantum worm hole.

The tall cast aluminium ‘King’ and ‘Queen’ sculptures are the closest Evans gets to representation. Rough curved planes form shield-like bodies; limbs become units stacked on top of each other. These works continue his confident journey into abstraction, with bodies becoming scooped metal furrows, empty symbols; gutted universals.

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