Garth Evans: Sculpture Photographs

Institute exhibition
2nd April 2015 - 12th July 2015
Upper Sculpture Study Gallery

Garth Evans
'British Steel Photographs'

Courtesy the artist and Leeds Museums and Galleries (Leeds Art Gallery)

Garth Evans (b. 1934) is central to the narrative of British sculpture, his work experimenting consistently with the possibilities of medium, form, weight and scale. Sculpture Photographs presents two bodies of work from the late 1960s and 1970s, 'British Steel Photographs 1969-71' and 'Portals 1977'. At this time Evans moved away from formal composition and adopted a more open-ended approach to making work, focusing on process, texture and other material qualities. Evans used photography to re-examine sculptural thinking, providing a catalyst for change in his broader object-making practice.

'British Steel Photographs 1969-71' comes out of Evans' Fellowship at the British Steel Corporation, a nationalised industry formed in 1967. This was brokered by the Artist Placement Group (APG), an organisation founded in 1965 that placed artists in government, commercial and industrial organisations. Evans spent his time observing the human and industrial processes of the changing steel industry, reflecting on how this production related to the studio activities of the sculptor. He produced a series of photographs taken at major production facilities, framing groupings of objects and materials. From a mass of images taken by Evans during his fellowship, he has selected 164 vintage prints for display in the gallery. Also on display is related archival material, including the 1970 publication Some Steel, a now iconic book in the history of British sculpture, held in the Institute's Research Library, in which some of these photographs were first published. All this material was acquired in 2014 for the Leeds Museums and Galleries sculpture collection, which the Institute curates and manages in a unique partnership that has built one of the strongest public collections of British sculpture.

'Portals 1977' is a colour slide-work made in 1977 that has never been previously exhibited. It projects a succession of images of things found in and on the ground in six cities - Chicago, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, New York, San Francisco and London. Evans regards these images, which encompass grates, grids, manhole covers and doormats, as 'raw material' made by others and found by the artist. Each image is projected for four seconds, before being replaced by another. Representing speculative enquiries by the artist into sculptural possibility, these works provide a window on to his creative process.

Garth Evans studied sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, London (1957-60). From 1965-79 he taught at St Martin's School of Art, and then moved to the United States. Since the 1960s, he has exhibited widely across the UK and USA, including in the influential group exhibitions British Sculpture '72, Royal Academy of Arts, London (1972) and The Condition of Sculpture, Hayward Gallery, London (1975). In 2013 artist Richard Deacon curated the survey exhibition Garth Evans at Yorkshire Sculpture Park which coincided with the release of Garth Evans: Sculpture, Beneath the Skin, edited by Ann Compton, a major publication reviewing his career to date. His work is represented in numerous collections, including Tate, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Victoria & Albert Museum and The British Museum. He has taught at the Slade School of Fine Art, The Royal College of Art, St. Martin's School of Art and Yale University. He currently lives and works in North East Connecticut and teaches in New York, where he is Head of Sculpture at the New York Studio School.

On Wednesday 1 July 2015 Evans will be joined in a gallery discussion by artists Richard Deacon and Phillip King, with Lisa Le Feuvre (Head of Sculpture Studies) and Jon Wood (Research Curator) of the Henry Moore Institute.

Further information