Titled Relic, the exhibition features more than 20 new works, including 16 large scale paintings which explore Wood-Evans enduring themes of mortality and history; re-appropriating classical subjects for the digital age.
Recalling the great masterpieces of Baroque art, from Rubens to Van Dyke Wood-Evans paintings fuse the great Romantic tradition of painting with the modernist sensibility of abstract artists such as Rothko and Motherwell. Wood-Evans focuses on the emotional space that his subjects inhabit, creating what the artist describes as ‘a process of conflict with the ambiguous place between representation and abstraction’. Wood-Evans brings to his art a subtle understanding of the passage of time, expressed in his appropriation of existing historic portraits which he re-works through a process including cropping, erasure and over-painting. Whilst this implies a deliberate and formal approach, the ‘accidental’ and the importance of surface and texture are equally important for Wood-Evans. Scenes are washed with a depth of colour, as if clouded by smoke or the eroded surface of a discarded film, creating a quality of living dialogue between artist and subject which might in turn be continued by the viewer of these sumptuous paintings.
Relic follows Wood-Evans’ recent critically acclaimed solo show at Unit London, Legacy & Disorder and a move away from full-length portraiture, instead capturing religious and mythological Baroque imagery. There is also the addition for the first time of large-scale curved canvases for his Assumption’ series, based on the commission for the Cathedral of Our Lady Antwerp by Rubens, ‘The Assumption of The Virgin Mary’. These are paintings which prompt an emotional response, suggesting portals where the viewer might enter and find space and a quiet moment to contemplate the tangibility of human existence.
Joe Kennedy, Co-Director at Unit London said: “We’re really excited to be working with Jake Wood-Evans and the Hampshire Cultural Trust on this exciting new project and we couldn’t think of a more worthy platform to present this dynamic new body of work.” Paul Sapwell, Chief Executive at Hampshire Cultural Trust, said: We are thrilled to be working with an artist as gifted and accomplished as Jake Wood-Evans and to be able to provide visitors with the opportunity to view the sublime and hauntingly unnerving works in Relic.’
Exhibition open on Friday 10th January and is on until Sunday, 29 March at The Gallery, Winchester Discovery Centre, Jewry Street, Winchester, SO23 8RB. Exhibition is open Friday 10.00 am – 7.00 pm. Saturday 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. Sunday 11.00 am – 3.00 pm.