(I N) V I S I B L E S Y S T E M S
2 3 S E P T - 2 4 N O V 2 0 1 7
“The cities I imagine through drawing exist neither in the past or the future. They are not solutions to urban problems but a pen and paper utopia where the excess of the city pushes against mathematics of nature.” - Alex Evans
For millennia, we have been in awe of the fundamental laws of nature, seeking out patterns and symmetries from microscopic particles to the greater universe. Geometry and symmetry appear to govern the world around us with an underlying mathematical order resulting in the formation of simple and complex shapes and patterns. There is a long aesthetic tradition of nature inspiring and being represented in human civilisation, the ancient Greeks studied natural forms abstracting them as simple geometrical shapes in which to construct their temples and shrines. In the mid 1800’s Joseph Paxton’s design for the Victorian mega-structure ‘The Crystal Palace’ originated from the vein structures of the giant lily pad ‘Victoria Amazonica’ and was constructed from a pioneering modular steel structure. A century later the architect Buckminster- Fuller’s radical futuristic geodesic domes were derived from honeycomb with interlocking triangular pieces. Modular in construction the flexible frames could be replicated and built quickly; enlarged or reduced in scale to suit countless prerequisites.
It is from researching these realised and theoretical propositions in architecture, urban planning and biosciences that the artist ALEX EVANS has created an evolving series of obsessively hand-drawn original works and prints composed of geometric shapes and complex patterns where the shapes appear to replicate themselves and sometimes go on to transform in scale. His complex mathematical drawings depict imagined cities like hybrid architectural forms and delicate emergent bio-organisms.
In Evans’ original large scale drawing ‘Cracks / Shadows’ we see layered observations of hexagonal paving slabs found on the sidewalks of New York City. The moss found growing in-between their cracks at the same time interrupt and create new geometric patterns of urban detail. ‘Cracks / Shadows’ suggest Evans’ imagined cities appearing and disappearing in patterns of emergent growth, like tangled shadows obscuring otherwise rigid geometrical patterns and systems. The notions of mathematical traditions have been subverted, playfully taken apart and re-made as complex examinations of municipal space and scale.
‘Mourning Palmyra’ a series of intricately drawn circular forms which adopts the pattern of the ‘Flower of Life’ as a leading compositional principle. This ancient expression of geometric beauty and mathematics presents a series of interlocking circles which Evans has rendered in pen and graphite with which he has created spaces, layers and dimensions through his repeated acts of drawing and erasure. The minuscule drawn marks resemble cuneiform - a system of writing first developed by the ancient Sumerians of Mesopotamia, now in danger of eradication owing to current conflicts in the region. Evans’ depicts these languages of architecture, geometry and nature as both growing and being destroyed; in a state of unsettling flux and transformation.
Within (IN)VISIBLE SYSTEMS Alex Evans seeks to explore the constant need for cultures to assemble and reassemble the built environment around us. Through a playful examination of scale, pattern and narrative he creates systems of drawings only to then disrupt, erase and take them apart in a constant dialogue between organic and formal structures.