Nancy Evans, Fleurs du mal (Evil Flower), 2018. Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 64 x 64 inches. © Nancy Evans. Courtesy the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.
ArtSeen, Brooklyn Rail, May 2022
Nancy Evans: Moonshadow
By Mary Jones
The phenomenal supermoons of the past six years deeply impressed Nancy Evans, and in Moonshadow, Evans’s first show with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, they serve as a powerful motif to consider our precarious, transient place in the universe. Of her seven large, radiant paintings, five are dated from 2016, the year that the largest supermoon since 1948 rose in the politically unforgettable month of November 2016. The other two were also completed during years of significant supermoons—the Blood Moon of 2018, and the rare Blue Moon of 2020. The title, Moonshadow, refers to the song by Cat Stevens, which whimsically imagines overcoming loss and embracing the here and now. Similarly, Evans constructs her avidly symbolic landscapes with simple compositions, alluding to American Modernism and evoking transformation and awakening in times of upheaval.
Like Agnes Pelton (1881–1961), whose retrospective title aptly labeled her as a “Desert Transcendentalist,” Evans acknowledges being inspired by the landscape of California: her formative years in the fig orchards of its fertile Central Valley, and recently, the desert of Apple Valley. She describes these experiences as encounters with the metaphysical—even hallucinatory—sublime. Also, like Pelton, Evans has studied Hinduism and Jungian symbolism and depicts lumination as a harbinger for a reality beyond the material world, perhaps a messenger for consciousness. One might refer to Evans as a “Desert Existentialist.” There’s little tranquility in these aqueous, dramatic supermoons. Instead of stasis, there’s action, even hints of foreboding. Lars von Trier's film Melancholia
(2011) comes to mind, in which a beautiful bright star is soon identified as a rogue planet whose orbit will inevitably destroy Earth. As natural disasters and climate change increasingly become part of our lives, we live with—and deny—the threat of our self-imposed extinction. The moons in Evans’s paintings hover in a restless gestalt, merging natural wonder with a call to consciousness.
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On ViewLuis De Jesus
April 16 – May 28, 2022