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~  Rob Evans  ~
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            Rob Evans is an artist and independent curator who lives and works near the south-central Pennsylvania town of Wrightville. His work centers on landscape painting and various topics of Contemporary Realism.

        First impressions of Rob Evansí oeuvre reveal his Blue Morpho Butterfly (c1864-65) by Martin Johnson Headefondness for natural subjects. A number of recent paintings are landscapes, some in the great tradition of the Hudson River School. The many nightscapes are quite unusual. On closer examination, the atmosphere in these works often seems reminiscent of what has been referred to as Luminism. This type of art encompassed landscapes produced by certain American artists of the mid 19th Century, who developed technical proficiency in portraying the exquisite qualities of lighting and atmosphere. Most notably were Fitz Hugh Lane, John Frederick Kensett, Frederic Edwin Church, Albert Bierstadt and Martin Johnson Heade. In the case of Rob Evansí more intimate paintings, Headeís work is the most comparable, as many of his works were close studies. When considering Rob Evans' riverscapes and seascapes, works by Kensett also come to mind.        

           Few artists have painted nightscapes. A notable example was Caspar David Friedrich, the German Romanticist. His work was grounded in nature, but he also strove to express a metaphysical dimension in his paintings. The design of a number of Rob Evansí paintings seem reminiscent of Friedrichís nocturnal works.

         Another artist brought to mind by Rob Evansí paintings is George C. Ault. Although he is generally grouped with the Precisionist, Ault did not share in their admiration of the Modernist aesthetic. His early works generally explored architectural  themes inspired by New York City and surrounding areas where he lived at the time. After moving  to Woodstock, New York, in 1937 he became reclusive. His paintings from that time almost exclusively portrayed rural scenery, alternating between rigorous and naÔve-like styles. In the early 1940s he produced a number of somewhat mysterious nocturnal studies based on Russellsí Corners, a nearby rural intersection.. The mood of these paintings is similar to the atmosphere felt in many of Rob Evansí works. At the same time, many of Rob Evansí early paintings are rendered in a meticulously precise style, with similarities to those works which George Ault painted in a Precisionist manner. 

         Recurrent features in Rob Evansí paintings suggest his connection to the American Magic Realists of the mid 20th Century. Magic Realism stemmed from  the Metaphysical art of Giorgio de Chirico, who stated that his objective was "to find the daemon in everything". Strong shadows in his early Piazza díItalia paintings contributed to their dreamlike mood. Plumes of white smoke billow from locomotives in many of these paintings, a metaphor for his father, who was a railroad engineer. Pillars of smoke can also be seen in the works of Magic Realists, for example in works by Carel Willink, Pierre Roy and E.J. Hughes. In Rob Evansí paintings, the columns of smoke evoke the mysterious and suggest an enigmatic source. This is the realm of the uncanny, of the phenomenal. It seems that they are likely the byproducts of human activity, but as to exactly what kind we can only guess.

         Rob Evans follows in the footsteps of a number of American Magic Realists. Andrew Wyeth was a master of concealment much of the content in his paintings, leaving only a few clues as to their real meaning. Most of his works utilize a carefully selected number of elements, yet rendered in exquisite detail. Alex Colville's approach was similar. Although many works of Magic Realism contain surreal nuances, the general approach differs greatly from that of orthodox Surrealism, which promoted spontaneity and the injection of the absurd. Through understatement Magic Realism became a powerful vehicle for creating metaphors and evoking memories. Thus Rob Evans' Toy Horse may be the Trojan Horse, with Troy burning in the background. Visit Rob's gallery and see what special stories of your own you can find there.

         Some additional Magic Realists to compare: Charles Rain, John Rogers Cox, John Wilde and Franz Radziwill. For a more complete discussion of the differences between  Magic Realism and Surrealism, visit the American Magic Realism gallerry.

The Rob Evans's Gallery

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