Evan Robarts “Run of the Mill”

The Hole

poster for Evan Robarts “Run of the Mill”

This event has ended.

The Hole presents a full-gallery solo exhibition by Evan Robarts. While Robarts has exhibited widely in group shows over the past few years, this will be his first major solo exhibition. The show will highlight three bodies of work by the material-driven conceptual artist, including scaffolding pieces, “line drawings” and “mop” paintings.

The “mop” paintings are made as you might guess; the artist “swabbing the deck” of the linoleum-covered panel with a mop on the floor, leaving his boot prints as the backs up to complete the job. The plaster is dragged around the black surface leaving both mundane and dynamic areas of white, a record of the task and its motions.

Robarts calls the wall-works of glass and garden hose “line drawings” because in a way, he is drawing with the hose, and the holes in the glass through which it weaves are just supports to hold up the line composition. Using Starphire glass, mirror and blue glass as a spatial armature, the artist composes drawings with red or green garden hoses that take on a diversity of effects from the subtle differences in composition and materials.

The scaffolding works will fill Gallery 3, stacked up to the ceiling, tipped over or hung on a wall like a canvas. For these works, Robarts riffs on Sol LeWitt wall drawings by using the arbitrary geometry of scaffolding parts to dictate shapes in the paintings. The assorted rectangles, squares and triangles made by the industrial scaffolding poles form a giant coloring book for the artist to color in.

Besides the pared-down, material-driven and cerebral aspects of these works there is also a strong personal, warm or even humorous component as well that for the artist is particularly important. Robarts was drawn to these materials from personal experience and familiarity. After graduating Pratt in 2008 the artist worked as a super for a run-down building in East New York being superficially fixed up for sale. He did a lot of mopping, and duties like hosing down the sidewalk or repairing hot water heaters meant repeated and mundane interaction with other materials, many of which have found their way into his work.

The title “Run of the Mill” is meant to evoke both the quotidian and ordinary tasks captured here in artworks, the role that work plays in a “work of art”, and also perhaps the anachronicity of the phrase itself. Textile mills (to which this phrase refers) are lost to the industrial past in New York City and are no longer the vital centers of working class communities, representing an industry and a way of life wiped off the city map. The artist reflects often on the movement of people and communities in New York City—where artists are often the pioneer species before gentrification occurs—and meditates on the forces of preservation and improvement enacted upon everyday lives.

The scaffolding works are perhaps the series that focus most closely on those themes of preservation and improvement, as scaffolding can be a sign of neighborhood rejuvenation or neighborhood gentrification. Temporary structures meant to allow people a convenient position to do repairs, they form a chrysalis around a city building and months later are disassembled to reveal the butterfly. It can mean the destruction of a historic old storefront or the refurbishment of beautiful cast iron façade, but in NYC it almost always means relentless improvement, sanitization and homogenization.

This resistance to the driving inevitability of modernization is something Robarts shares with his favourite art movement, Arte Povera. Where artists at that time felt modernity threatened their sense of memory and personal history, Robarts is perhaps aware as well of the class-based nature of development in New York City that forces ever-outwards blue collar workers and all but the most financially viable contemporary artists. If no one but the uber-rich can afford to live in the city, where will the experimentation and innovation of untested young artists take place?

Regardless of the struggles over having enough “room to work” in the city, these works seem to be more fun than the chores they come out of. The creative mind applied to materials and processes of the conventionally laborious here yields excitement and even humour. As they say, if you find a job you love you will never work a day in your life.

Robarts (b. 1982, Florida) graduated from Pratt with a BFA in sculpture in 2008 and has exhibited recently at Balice Hertling, Bryce Wolkowitz and Vigo Gallery, London; he has exhibited work in the Marguiles Collection at the Warehouse in Miami and with The Still House Group in Red Hook. He lives in Brooklyn and works in New York City.



from March 03, 2015 to April 05, 2015

Opening Reception on 2015-03-03 from 18:00 to 21:00


Evan Robarts

  • Facebook


    All content on this site is © their respective owner(s).
    New York Art Beat (2008) - About - Contact - Privacy - Terms of Use