57 Rue de Turenne
75003 Paris, France
We are delighted to present Amid Tall Waves, Pam Evelyn’s first solo exhibition with the gallery at MASSIMODECARLO, Pièce Unique, Paris.
The works that form Amid Tall Waves are each distinct, standalone pieces, not linked by a complimentary palette but tied together by their shared reference to the time the artist spent in the fishing town of Newlyn, Cornwall. Always enraptured by the elemental and relentless movement of the sea, the works in this exhibition are informed by the view from her expansive studio window overlooking the bay of the fishing village. Changes in weather, light, colour and tone over the sea dictated Evelyn’s vision and experience of painting, as the subtleties in weather systems varied from one point to the next. While working in the studio day in day out the artist noticed a link between the patterns of the sea, the changing of the tides, and her own daily habits within the studio.
The constant flux of light and sea conditions is tangible in the three large paintings. The representational forms that are the foundation of her work become obscured by the many layers of visual rhythm that are built upon them: erased, creased, contoured, glazed, obliterated, washed to create paintings which shimmer and quake with vital movement. The sea can be relied on to perpetually change, predictable in the reliability of the constant tides, yet unpredictable in its precise movements and the atmosphere it creates. Over time the repetition of the waves against the shore leaves a physical mark; whether the slow breaking down of pebble into grains of sand or the gradual but eventually monumental erosion of a cliff that creates a new coastline. The sea thus crafts new forms over time, Evelyn replicates this using her own techniques of erosion to block out areas of visual information. Slow manipulations of shape and marks effect the whole, as one small shift, one stroke of paint, can change the entirety of an object.
The artist’s works are at once both a final static piece and a pulsing encapsulation of a passage of time. There is a particular joy in the fluidity of paint in Evelyn’s works; the artist leans into its liquid properties, letting it act as the unpredictable liquid it is, rather than forcing it to act as something rigid and formulaic. She revels in leaving bold drips of paint, layering wet-on-wet, and the merging of colours into one as the artist captures in time the exact moment the paint changed state, from liquid to solid form. Evelyn has worked on Glas, Cold Waters and Braided - left to dry, over several years. They have travelled with her through different studios, environments, and changes of vision. Each holds its own narrative as these travels and different lives are condensed and saturated into the work. They came into their final state of being in Cornwall: Glas refers to a Cornish word used to describe the innumerable shades, colours and tones of the sea; Scope, her vision across the bay as ships came into harbour; Cold Water the bleached outlines of objects under the glaring light of the sun and the patterned ribbing in Braided - left to dry is reminiscent of a fisherman’s ropes. Also ingrained in these paintings is another narrative, the history of the artistic and literary tradition that is deeply steeped in the Cornwall landscape. Its sublime expanses of cliffs, rocks, hills and water have inspired many from Thomas Hardy and JMW Turner, to Alfred Wallis and Barbara Hepworth.
The work displayed at Pièce Unique will sequentially change during Amid Tall Waves, embedding the flux of the sea and the changing tides into the display of the exhibition. Singular visions from the artist’s Cornish studio are brought to central Paris, transporting those that pass Pièce Unique to a different time and place, mimicking physically the way one reminisces on a holiday at the sea once they are back to their daily life in the city.