Nancy Evans: Moonshadow – Brooklyn Rail

ArtSeen, Brooklyn Rail, May 2022

Nancy Evans: Moonshadow

By Mary Jones

The phenomenal supermoons of the past six years deeply impressed Nancy Evans, and in Moonshadow, Evans’s first show with Luis De Jesus Los Angeles, they serve as a powerful motif to consider our precarious, transient place in the universe. Of her seven large, radiant paintings, five are dated from 2016, the year that the largest supermoon since 1948 rose in the politically unforgettable month of November 2016. The other two were also completed during years of significant supermoons—the Blood Moon of 2018, and the rare Blue Moon of 2020. The title, Moonshadow, refers to the song by Cat Stevens, which whimsically imagines overcoming loss and embracing the here and now. Similarly, Evans constructs her avidly symbolic landscapes with simple compositions, alluding to American Modernism and evoking transformation and awakening in times of upheaval.  

Like Agnes Pelton (1881–1961), whose retrospective title aptly labeled her as a “Desert Transcendentalist,” Evans acknowledges being inspired by the landscape of California: her formative years in the fig orchards of its fertile Central Valley, and recently, the desert of Apple Valley. She describes these experiences as encounters with the metaphysical—even hallucinatory—sublime. Also, like Pelton, Evans has studied Hinduism and Jungian symbolism and depicts lumination as a harbinger for a reality beyond the material world, perhaps a messenger for consciousness. One might refer to Evans as a “Desert Existentialist.” There’s little tranquility in these aqueous, dramatic supermoons. Instead of stasis, there’s action, even hints of foreboding. Lars von Trier’s film Melancholia (2011) comes to mind, in which a beautiful bright star is soon identified as a rogue planet whose orbit will inevitably destroy Earth. As natural disasters and climate change increasingly become part of our lives, we live with—and deny—the threat of our self-imposed extinction. The moons in Evans’s paintings hover in a restless gestalt, merging natural wonder with a call to consciousness.

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On View

Luis De Jesus
April 16 – May 28, 2022
Los Angeles

(Top image: Nancy Evans, Fleurs du mal (Evil Flower), 2018. Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas, 64 x 64 inches. © Nancy Evans. Courtesy the artist and Luis De Jesus Los Angeles.)

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ecoartspace was conceived in 1997 by Patricia Watts in Los Angeles. In 1999, Watts partnered with east coast curator Amy Lipton, operating as a nonprofit under the umbrella of SEE, the Social and Environmental Entrepreneurs in California. 2019 marked twenty years that Watts and Lipton have curated art and ecology programs, participating on panels and giving lectures internationally. Combined, they have curated over sixty art and ecology exhibitions, many outdoors in collaboration with artists creating site-specific works. They have worked with over one thousand artists from across the United States, and some internationally. Starting 2020, ecoartspace became an LLC membership organization based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

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