"NOIR," Joshua Evan's solo exhibition at ASHES/ASHES, brings the digital realm to physical space as angular forms meet EMF shielding paint. Evan's all black exhibition is formally minimal, the aesthetic of which he shrewdly controls as a carrier for meaning through his subtle yet hard hitting choices that comment on the ever increasing scope of digital life.
Formal qualities of Evan's paintings introduce a complex conversation about the impact of internet culture on historical notions of the painterly image. His completely flat, black forms tow the line between JPEG and painting. The space of the white cube is censored by the black paintings that sit on top of them, as Evan's shaped canvases create a void that obscures the space rather than adding representation. For instance, in the case of Shielding Monochrome #4 and Shielding Monochrome #5, the squares missing to one side of either painting feel like dead pixels in this space.
The young artist, born in 1991, shrewdly employs his materials as a primary form of iconography to create underlying storylines relating to contemporary media and our bustling, digital footprints. Evan's EMF shielding paint is most commonly used to block cell phone, radio, and TV signals, but here it is a physical reminder of our contemporary reliance on a digital existence. Evan, who often brings attention to our electronics, creates wry humor by cruelly jamming them or, in the case of a recent sculptural work made of iPhones, chopping them in half and stacking them.
The artist's focus on jamming takes a futile turn for many of Evan's viewers who will view the exhibition exclusively through the internet. Evan is tied to an online art scene particularly prevalent on Instagram and consisting primarily of young artists and curators who engage directly with their audiences via social media. Evan has been included in many recent projects of this ilk, from Scandale Project's ART IS volume published this past March to an exhibition of the Bech Risvig collection at Huset for Kunst og Design, which contains many artists involved in the online scene.
Evan's exhibition is yet another sign of a diverse generation of artists and curators who made their names online increasingly making the jump to real exhibition spaces. Here are a few names to look out for: Asger Dybvad Larsen, Chris Trueman, Francesca Longhini, Gijs van Lith, Grant Wells, Jason Gringler, Jenny Brosinski, Jonni Cheatwood, Marco Pariani, Paul Weiner, Pedro Matos, Ricardo Passaporte, Taylor A. White and any number of artists who have been featured on the Young Space blog.