Sue Scott Gallery

Franklin Evans:
2008/2009 < 2009/2010, Opening Reception

09 September 2009, 6:00–8:00 PM, Sue Scott Gallery

Sue Scott Gallery is pleased to announce 2008/2009 < 2009/2010, a solo exhibition by Franklin Evans. 

During the past year the studio’s evolution over time has become his primary subject. He has created an experimental visual lab that celebrates the present over the past and upends the hierarchies of the studio. Tape, residue systems and process are elevated, and painting and the idea of finished artwork are demoted. He democratizes the studio components, such that a cluster of residual blocking tape and a watercolor can stand on equal footing. His materials include paint, tape, canvas, paper, watercolor, acrylic, wallboard, bubble wrap, art books, and exhibition press releases. He sets up systems that overlap, co-exist, and erase one another to arrive at new ways of thinking about and making work. The results allow for a presentation of materials in less familiar ways: unstretched canvases wrap walls and corners, extending from one room to the next; framing systems of strips of hand-painted tape cover areas of watercolors and drawings, obscuring the detail of the work on paper; the floor is treated as a plane for painting; brushstrokes painted on pieces of tape are reconfigured as mobile brushstrokes within the installation; press releases from 2008/2009 art season are assembled as an announcement and foundational framing for the 2009/2010 season. There is a visual abundance and near-psychedelic seriality that suggests the form of an artist’s notebook, where no material or thought is off limits. This abundance and deliberate impermanence undermine epistemological certainty, implicitly arguing that the complexity of relationships is constantly shifting and that knowledge is always in flux. In the installation, there are moments of resolution, but inevitably they dissolve as more visual information enters the field of vision. His work simultaneously suggests the not-quite- finished, the in-transition, the nearly-emerging, the slowly-evolving, the near-end, and the move-toward-erasure – all in a seemingly never-ending recombination.

The narrative tone embraces erasure, finitude and rebirth. Through his choice of layered recombinant working processes and through the repetition of the image of a leafless tree on a desolate plain, Evans’ work points at the perverse tension between accepting, possibly celebrating, mortality and the exhaustive attempt to extend life. This source image, cut from The New York Times, hung in his studio for more than a year, and only after an inadvertent tear caused by a residual piece of tape on the wall did he begin exploring the image. It was the tear in the fabric of illusion that launched his exploration of this lone tree.

Past artists permeate his body of work, particularly several from the 60s: Robert Morris’ monolithic objects disrupting architecture, Mel Bochner’s measurement systems, Donald Judd’s “see it, say it” observations, and Sol Lewitt’s instructions to execution. The two somewhat larger presences in his recent studio dialogue are Frank Stella and Casper David Friedrich. Stella’s Black Paintings and their predetermined execution and Friedrich’s horizontal application of discreet hues to depict form are paired, explored and reconfigured.  Stella’s monochrome formula is infused with Friedrich’s micro-dissection of color bands.  Evans simultaneously absorbs the richness of past artists and distorts their working means, ignoring their rules in a conscious cannibalization of their copyright.
“sentimentalitydissolvedandframed” presents three versions of a moonscape blocked by the image of his lone tree. Version 1 is the pixelated printout of the tree taped on top of a moonscape, version 2 is the pixelated printout of the jpeg of this collage, and version 3 is the watercolor of the pixelated jpeg. The juxtaposition of these three representations allows for the analytic to displace the romantic, questioning authenticity of the present.
“stellacollapsedandtemporarilysupported” uses a wallboard painting with broken corners to support a wall drawing system above. The shape of the broken wallboard determines the directional faux-support of the wall drawing between two windows, mirroring their form and encasing them in this temporary framing system. “lookbackatfriedrichspast” and “friedrichspastfromthefuture” are two watercolors that refer to Friedrich’s “The Wanderer” as a conceptual and formal starting point to make a painting.  He uses the crossing composition of Friedrich’s painting and inverts the narrative of “The Wanderer” which has been read as the present looking at the distant and uncertain future.  Evans’ watercolors present a looking back from now (Friedrich’s future) at the past behind “The Wanderer.” The unseen space behind Friedrich’s painting is now seen through the complex lens weathered and enriched by the residual layers of time and history from 1818 to the present.

Franklin Evans was born in 1967 in Reno, Nevada. He received his BA from Stanford University and his MFA from the University of Iowa. He lives and works in New York City. His work has been exhibited at The Drawing Center, New York, NY; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA; and El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY. He has had solo or two-person exhibitions in New York, Toronto, San Francisco, Milan, and Zurich. In October, he will produce the set design for collaboration with choreographer Trajal Harrell at The New Museum. He has been the recipient of The LMCC Workspace Residency (2004), The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Space Program (2008/2009), and Yaddo (2009). His work is in the permanent collections of The Weatherspoon Art Museum; The Sweeney Art Gallery, University of California, Riverside; El Museo del Barrio; and Progressive Art Collection.

For additional information please contact Rebecca Mirsky at Sue Scott Gallery by calling  212-358-8767, faxing 212-358-8785 or emailing
Gallery Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 11 am – 6 pm, and Sunday 12 pm – 6pm, or by appointment.