Joshua Liner Gallery presents Far, a solo exhibition of new work by Denver-based artist Evan Hecox. This will be the artist’s third showing with the gallery, featuring a series of work on paper, wood panel, and canvas, employing numerous combinations of acrylic paint, ink, gouache, watercolor, and colored pencil. The artist will be present for the opening reception on Thursday, May 7, 2015.
Continuing an exploration and documentation of unfamiliar cities, the artist broadens his horizon in Far, drawing inspiration from trips to New York, the remote Mojave Desert, Santa Fe, Los Angeles, and Tokyo. Experimenting with representational depictions of cityscapes and remote towns paired with abstract geometric forms, Farincorporates a collection of vastly different scenes, unified by Hecox’s attention to detail, and fascination with landscape.
Organic line work contrasting with geometric shapes characterizes Hecox’s work. Beginning with reference photographs ranging from digital to medium format film, the artist lays out the groundwork for each piece back in his Denver studio. Initial plans for each work are mapped out by hand in faint pencil, and proceed with a combination of ink, gouache, watercolor, and acrylic paint. Each medium used lends itself to particular details and elements of the work. The smooth geometric shapes and suggestions of urban structures are laid out in opaque layers of gouache, while finer details like power lines, roof tiles, and detritus of the metropolis, or spindly needles of Joshua Trees are recorded in ink, giving the work a sketch-like quality. A backwash of diluted watercolor and acrylic paint adds texture to the scene and the negative space. These various techniques allow the details and subtle qualities of the landscape to shine, simultaneously offering the opportunity for imagination through the artist’s simplified impressions of urban structures.
Suggestion in particular plays a prominent role in the artist’s work. Breaking down the building blocks of each setting, Hecox uses his sense of angular shapes to depict forms and structures within the scenes. The artist elaborates, “There has always been a strong sense of geometry and abstraction in my own work, at least in my own mind. In my head I’ve always seen the world as a collage of shape, line, and color.” In one work, Globe LA, Hecox paints an urban scene from Los Angeles depicting the shuttered Globe Theater, and neighboring storefronts. Opaque blocks of concrete grey and steel blue replace storefront roller doors, and a strip of yellow describes the edge of a sidewalk. Pushing further into his interest in geometric structures, Hecox adds an extension to these simplified forms by incorporating an imaginary semi-circle with bands of color radiating above the Globe Theatre sign. In Last Old Thing in Tokyo, a detailed ink sketch of a boarded up Japanese building is surrounded by grey and beige oblongs, sharp edged triangles, and trapeziums. The artist notes, “Instead of just seeking out real places to draw that have a sense of geometry, I’ve taken to integrating a geometric structure within the worlds I’m drawing.”
Other works in the exhibition examine geometric forms in more detail, and experiment with typography. Taking inspiration from hand painted signs, Hecox deliberately distorts letterforms and balance to create intriguing compositions. El Barrio Democrat Club, for example, has a Bauhaus typographic quality, with certain letters stretched across the page, drawing the viewer to read and interpret the warped typeface. Other letters are represented by acute angles, circles, and isosceles triangles, and together create abstract imagery. Hecox further explains, “My typographic pieces are about hijacking words to create abstract images, making them deliberately difficult to read, so that the message is secondary to the form.” From run down Japanese buildings to remote desert towns, Hecox creates a dynamic yet harmonious unity between the worlds of abstraction and representation, reality and imagination.
Born in 1970, Evan Hecox currently lives and works in Denver, Colorado. Selected solo exhibitions include Dark Island, Joshua Liner Gallery, New York, NY (2012); Borough Lane, Stolen Space, London, (2011); The Last Thousand Years, Joshua Liner Gallery, New York, NY (2009); Full Deck: A Short History of Skate Art, Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek, CA (2009); Los Calles, 4 Walls Fine Art, Austin, TX (2007); and The Art of Evan Hecox, Rocket Gallery, Tokyo (2003). Group exhibitions include Your Favorite Artist’s Favorite Artist, Joshua liner Gallery, New York, NY (2014); Wreck the Walls, Subliminal Projects, Los Angeles (2010); Beautiful Losers: Contemporary Art and Street Culture, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco (2007); and Colorado Biennial, Aspen Art Museum (2006).