“There’s a lifelessness in the figures that feels really sterile and cold but the familiarity you feel when looking at them gives them a contrasting aliveness. I like playing in these two realms to conduct imagery that feels weird, nostalgic and sometimes arresting.”
Ben Evans is an LA based artist whose work depicts a satirical landscape of glamour and our private lives. The figures ooze ‘main character’ energy. They are featured prominently in the center of the paintings, trapped in the mundaneness of familiar settings. The viewer finds private moments with them in the back of cars, on living room furniture, and behind the closed door of a bathroom. Evans explains, “Starting my painting vision off with interiors and people’s interpersonal relationships with their spaces has led me to land here in this moment for my art.”
Evans’ work is heavily influenced by the internet. He writes, “I think within the context of the internet and how we process the desire to live is the driving force behind my images.” The internet provides a lifeline to a culture and connectedness we wouldn’t be able to experience otherwise. It is now an integral part of daily life and has set a new standard of living. In many of Evans’ pieces, the characters depict the quiet desperation of entertaining ourselves in a digital age.
Evans also describes antinatalism as a consuming theme in his art these days. He explains, “The characters I am painting did not ask to be born and painted onto a canvas which gives them an innate tragedy. I think escapism works in tandem with that in how the viewer can feel a sense of familiarity with a two dimensional figure on a flat surface, hanging on a wall.” The idea that Evans has painted the figures into a life we can relate to deserves a pause for reflection – do we see ourselves in these settings because they’re familiar, or because the characters are stuck in them? Art has always provided a source of escapism, whether in form or context. With Evans’ work, we’re compelled to think deeper about what aspect it is we’re relating to.