Geraint Evans (1968-present) is a Welsh painter, draughtsman and educator living and working in London. Evans is from Swansea and studied at Manchester Polytechnic and the Royal Academy Schools, graduating in 1993. Evans teaches painting at University of the Arts London, as the Pathway Leader for the MA Fine Art Painting course and the MA Fine Art Coordinator at Camberwell College of Arts. Evans’ practice – frequently painting in a stylised naturalistic register – is thematically concerned with landscape representation, influenced by the insights of the American academic and historian W.J.T. Mitchell, and specifically with the intersection of the urban, suburban and wilderness as aspects of a constructed idea of nature. Evans has frequently exhibited his work nationally and internationally and has featured in various texts concerned with contemporary landscape painting.
[Evans has stated] For some time now, I have been interested in the ways in which we encounter and perceive the natural world, particularly from an urban-based position. Landscape is always viewed through a cultural lens and we constantly seek to manage, shape or even simulate the natural world (in Priseman, 2017).
This emphasis has led Evans to depict the juxtaposition of seemingly incongruent or unlikely settings and figures: urban hermits, back garden adventurers, and benign – commercially friendly – grizzly bears. There is an obvious irony and humour in those combinations which pokes fun at our dependence on constructed fantasy, and armchair (or deck chair) self-aggrandising; claims to an imagined more physical life, a robust and vital past all from a position of late capitalist suburban privilege, is absurd in very familiar ways. However, as David Barrett comments below, there is a sustained critique in the practice which points to a profound lack at the core of our corporatized day to day existence in which fantasies of wilderness adventure and/or communion with benevolent nature is a hardly adequate balm.
The oddness of the depicted scenes and narratives, with their repeated focus on synthetic landscapes and secondary experience, dovetails with and is reinforced by the painting technique itself. But why is this flat and simplified style so familiar? We recognise it as a cousin of the informational graphics that proliferate in our managerial societies, instructional signs in which every form is declarative rather than illusionary (Barrett, 2012).
Barrett, D. (2012) Catalogue essay for the solo exhibition 'The Sheer Innocence of a Curious Gaze' at Newport Museum and Art Gallery 2012. Text available at: https://www.geraintevans.net/about1-c1810.
Priseman, R. (2017) Making landscapes from suburban Swansea: Geraint Evans, Making landscapes from suburban Swansea: Geraint Evans | Art UK. Art UK. Available at: https://artuk.org/discover/stories/making-landscapes-from-suburban-swansea-geraint-evans (Accessed: March 15, 2023).
Images shared courtesy of the artist.