James Evans

My journey started in the 1980s at Ipswich School of at Art with the ambition of becoming a graphic designer, but the freedom my friends exhibited in the fine art department was closer to my artistic sensibilities. I chose ceramics and went to Central St. Martins in London to complete my BA Honours degree. I was fortunate to be taught by Rob Kessler, Richard Slee, Eileen Nesbit and Gillian Lowndes, and with their input them another transformation occurred from functional to sculptural. The work completed on the course awarded me with a full scholarship to study at Colorado University in Boulder, USA. Here I worked under the guidance of Betty Woodman, Scot Chamberlain and Tom Potter. The experience of working in a huge, equipped department with access to a large studio was to lead to a change in scale and materials. On returning to England in 1990 I got a post as Artist in Residence. With access to studios, I made some new work for my first solo show at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Roskilde, Denmark. At the end of the residency, I started up my own studio in South London.

I was chosen by the curator Tessa Peters to be included in a show at the Barbican Centre called “Atlantic Crossings”. I was subsequently shortlisted for the Jerwood Applied Arts Prize 2001 and the Arts Foundation Fellowship in 2004. From here I was to have my first London solo exhibition with gallery Cosa and represented them for three years at COLLECT. I have since taken part in numerous group shows, including; Award at BCB (2011); Ripe at the Crafts Council (2000) Solo exhibitions include; Abugation, Marsden Woo Project Space (2012); Galerie Sandra Buergel (2007); and Hypoplastic at Midlands Art Centre, Birmingham (2002). My work is also represented in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London. Since 2000 I have been generously supported by Marsden Woo gallery. Presently I am making a large body of work for an exhibition at Le Don du Fel in my new studio in Norfolk.

Visit James Evans’ website and Instagram page.

Featured work

Selected works, 2022

James Evans Ceramics

I am proud of this new work as it reflects more accurately what I have been trying to convey for several years and it is pushing me technically to achieve. On reflection, and looking through my sketchbooks, my interests that feed my concepts have changed little over the years; it is the means in which I convey them that have. Some pieces are process lead as I explore new technical approaches whereas other pieces are more intuitive as they develop. There have been two main sources of inspiration, the sensuality of the human form and the architecture of the domestic living space. I try not to be too rigid by sticking to the original idea when making and allow myself to play, exploring new paths as they present themselves. Clay is a great mimic allowing to me create something that looks soft and flowing when it is rigid and brittle. Combining these soft folds with those of a machined profiles is challenging and enjoyable. The surface treatment is varied and determined by the finished piece, each reflecting the passing of time. They are found objects that have been retrieved from the ground, lost in rubble or from the eroding shoreline. Objects with an unknown provenance from an indeterminable period. The finished surface illustrates my memories of walking on Suffolk beaches, exploring the ruins of military sea defences and objects found amongst the flotsam and jetsam combined with all that has been witnessed in the years in-between. Looking for beauty in decay.