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  • Writer's picturePeggy Nichols

Rob Evans, an artist whose work awakens a sense of mystery and inquiry into the cycles of life...

Updated: May 8, 2022

'Refuge', oil on panel, 48 x 48 inches.

'Since my childhood the impulse has always been there to interpret the world in a visual way. At the same time my need to probe for a deeper understanding of the nature of things stems from being raised by two scientist parents (a biochemist and an archaeologist) with an endless curiosity about the world around them. Growing up in the suburbs of Washington D.C. provided unlimited access to the great art and science museums of the Smithsonian and awakened the sense of mystery in me which is still at the core of what motivates me to create.

As a child, I spent many extraordinary summers exploring the woods around my grandparent’s home along the Susquehanna River in York County, Pennsylvania, collecting insects, bones, old bottles and all kinds of interesting artifacts. Experiencing the cycles of life, death, growth and decay first hand in this natural realm opened my sense of the wholeness of things in a way the suburbs couldn’t have. It had a profound effect on me and is what ultimately drew me back here over 30 years ago to raise a family and paint. Our farm, the surrounding natural landscape and my family are starting points for almost all the concepts I explore in my paintings.'

'Indicator', watercolor, 21 x 19.5 inches.

'Insects, the Susquehanna River, fences, doorways and empty rooms, although a familiar part of my surroundings, take on deeper significance, representing such things as change and transformation, the ephemeral, the precariousness and uncertainty of life’s journey and the mysteries of life’s cycles and rituals. The plumes of steam from nearby Three Mile Island nuclear power plant, jet trails, power lines and roadways which divide up the surrounding land and skyscape, suggest in my work the imposition of human activity on an increasingly fragile ecosystem, something I live with on a daily basis as urban sprawl continues to creep out into the rural countryside from nearby cities.

Over the last decade my paintings have moved increasingly in the direction of dealing metaphorically with these broader themes inspired by real places, experiences and memories. The most common and everyday occurrences, places and things are transformed into the universal, allowing me, through my work, to examine and confront the issues I face as an artist, parent, spouse and as a participant in life at this particular time in history.'

left to right: 'Gravity Air', graphite on museum board,Collection of Roundtop Trust., 'Evening Ritual', oil on panel, 40 x 90 inches.,

'Threshold', mixed media on paper, 40 x 60 inches.

'Piñata', oil on prepped paper, 26 x19 inches.

left to right: 'Fossil', mixed media on paper, 27 x 38 inches.,

'The Lure', graphite on paper, 14.5 x 17.5 inches., 'Flight Pattern II', oil on panel, 36 x 55 inches.

Rob Evans is an artist and independent curator who lives and works near Wrightsville, PA. He received a BFA from Syracuse University in 1981 and has been awarded numerous grants including two fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, and a prestigious fellowship from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation.

Evans' work can be found in more than 30 prominent public collections across the nation including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; National Gallery of Art; Corcoran Museum of Art; Library of Congress; San Francisco Art Museums; Baltimore Museum of Art; and the Portland (OR) Art Museum among others. His paintings have been featured in numerous books, newspapers and magazines and on public radio and television. His work has also been showcased in many blogs and online publications including a recent interview on the Huffington Post.

Evans' enigmatic paintings and drawings have been showcased in over 100 solo and curated group exhibitions at museums and galleries around the world at such places as the Tretyakov Museum, Moscow; Lalit Kala Akademi, New Delhi, India; Corcoran Museum of Art, Washington, D.C.; Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts; Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art; Philbrook Museum of Art, Tulsa, OK; and the Arkansas Art Center to name just a few.

'Origins', oil on panels in altarpiece frame, 84 x 76 inches.

As an independent curator Evans has organized and guest curated several major museum exhibitions including Transforming the Commonplace: Masters of Contemporary Realism at the Susquehanna Art Museum and the traveling exhibition, Visions of the Susquehanna, featuring paintings of this extraordinary river spanning more than 250 years. In 2015 Evans was invited by Governor Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf to help curate an exhibit of prominent Pennsylvania artists throughout history at the State Museum in Harrisburg as part of the Governor's Inaugural Festivities.

'Resting Swans', pastel, 10 x 17 inches.

Evans has worked as a community arts activist for the last two decades. He has served on the boards of Yorkarts and the Historic Hellam Preserve (where he is also artist-in-residence), established and curates the Visions of the Susquehanna Art Colletion at the Zimmerman Center for Heritage, was Founding Artistic Director of the PA Arts Experience, and was instrumental in establishing Marketview Arts as a new downtown arts venue in York, PA.

left to right: 'Predator',oil on prepared paper, 23 x 41 inches., 'Cicada', oil on panel, 40 x 120 inches., 'Moth', acrylic on panel, 24 x 72 inches.

'Storm Clouds,Chickies', pastel, 11 x 17 inches.

left to right: 'Marietta Train', oil on panel, 30 x 23 inches., 'Elizabeth Quinn Sleeping', 6 color lithograph, 10.3 x 10 inches. 'Late Dinner', mixed media over stone lithograph, 8 x 12 inches.

'Peppers'. mixed media on paper, 21 x 25 inches.

'Pregnant Plant', pastel, 21 x 28 inches.

Rob Evans, working in his studio.


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