The Theoretical Complexity of Painting: Franklin Evans’ Collaged Works in “paintingassupermodel”

Painting as Model, Yve-Alain Bois’ 1993 book of critical essays, reinforced the theoretical complexity of painting by modern masters like Henri Matisse, Piet Mondrian, and Barnett Newman. This summer, the text takes on new meaning at Ameringer McEnery Yohe, where it has inspired “paintingassupermodel,” Franklin Evans’ first solo exhibition at the gallery.

Evans’ post-postmodern work expands on Bois’ writing in the language of networked painting and contemporary excess. It is a type of studious, if materially untidy, over-formalism that is partly contemptuous and partly reverential of American painting’s academicism and consumer culture’s mediated idealism (as signified by the “supermodel”). 

This new installation, realized through Evans’ tape-painting technique, comprises collaged wall paintings, eight large canvases, 1,500 square feet of digital prints on paper, canvas, and silk, photographic sculptures, floor works, and vitrines that together alter the architecture of the gallery’s modernist white cube. Hung from the ceiling and expanding below the viewer’s feet, “paintingassupermodel” invites the viewer to reorient spatially and conceptually within Evans’ cosmically colorful patterns, and offset geometrical grids that trail off into a muddying, almost endless maze of marks.

Evans has described his emergent, process-based method as a “near-infinite cycle of recombination” that produces “open system environments that are both symbiotic and cannibalistic.” Combining firm art historical foundations with a discontinuous focus wrought by internet media and digital technologies, Evans has developed a dynamic dialogue on art’s past and future. 

paintingassupermodel” is on view at Ameringer McEnery Yohe June 5th–August 1st, 2014.

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