Nick Evans: Anti-Autonome (3 stars)

Nick Evans: Anti-Autonome

Figures emerge into various asanas – the plaster forms bend and twist into the momentary pose of a fish, a mermaid, figures fornicating, seated, running and riding. These sculptures are bold, solid, pure white, amorphous, the seams of their construction visible. Their anthropomorphic stances entice us to see a face, but as you walk around you realise there is none – they have shut themselves off from the viewer, like shy, chunky inward looking creatures.

The seven sculptures have been constructed from the same building blocks. Four different moulds have given life to a new species of large-scale amoeba-like creatures. Nick Evans’ broader practice self-consciously references art history and the traditional use of sculptural methods. Here too the classical appearance of the objects seems to emerge from an informed historical base.

The works are placed on simple wooden supports. These structures, machine cut in the form of ethnic design benches and tables, have been screenprinted with simple brightly bi-coloured motifs. The result is a strange blend of a pop-primitivist aesthetic with Modernist high art. The prints show a motif of sperm swimming across the tabletops in a playful manner. The contrasting elements are mixed into the murky pool from where all creative energy originates. Acknowledging their ancestry, a new species comes into being: with ethnic lower bodies and classical torsos they form a new tribe of modern-day centaurs.

Where Nick Evans’ last show at Washington Garcia was very much about the materiality of the works, his new exhibition moves deeper into the conceptual framework. Just as his practice is rooted in the development of art history, his exhibitions unfold as chapters in his own book. Where Use History Autonome was a darker, more private, X-rated affair for art audiences, Anti-Autonome at Mary Mary is more restrained, and plays into consumerism by appearing more conservative. Full of humour and dodgy pokes at primitivist tendencies, it highlights the artist’s satirical trait. If this show is the anti-thesis of his previous thesis – showing the breadth of his artistic range – the synthesis is well worth waiting for.

Mary Mary, Glasgow, until Sat 30 Oct

Nick Evans: Anti-Autonome

  • 3 stars

New solo show by this subtle Glasgow-based Zambia-born artist.

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