Welcome to my fine art portfolio. I am a professional fine artist originating from London where I completed my fine art degree and gained my PhD at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London. My works have been shown at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) and are held within private collections in both England and the USA. I now live in the US. In this fine art portfolio I have brought together examples of 30 years of my work.
Pastel on Paper
I was born in the working class East-End of London and I’ve been creating my entire life, at 17 I was accepted at my first art school and at 26 I completed my PhD at the Slade School of Fine Art in London. At the heart of my artwork is the autobiographical. By drawing from my own personal experiences in life with soul baring honesty, I hope to reveal in my artwork essential truths which unite us. A connection which is real.
My passion are my lines and their movement and my materials for all they are in their essence and all they give to me. I often venture from the boundaries of conventional media and some of my works employ the services of metals; gold, copper and iron for their individual truths in what they are. Gold for it's purity, copper for its strength to weather great storms and to protect, and iron for it's beauty in it's decay.
When I begin a piece I never know where it is going to go, it takes me. I only know the feel of the mediums I need in embrace in my hand, be it a graphite pencil or a piece of pastel or a brush full of oil paint with all the smells that go with it. It is love that I have with whatever I hold in my hand and a trust it knows where it is going because I surely do not. That trust has never forsaken me.
Oil, earth pigments and copper on Irish linen
My artworks give vision to the silent internal journey we go on as we deal with the realities of our lives, realities above that can form scars below. This journey has led me to explore different forms of mediums to better express what lays below. In some work the weathering of iron particles on my surfaces communicate change and the irreversible nature of decay. A surface which should be ugly becomes one of beauty when seen in a different way.
A watercolor scarred with encrusted rust haloed by copper
Preservation Copper Book
13" x 17"
Photographic self-portraits distressed by iron are preserved within a handmade book with a cover made of solid sheets of copper bound by leather. Below: the distressed photographic portraits become the leaves of the book, their text punched through from behind to be seen in reverse.
Above: the distressed photographic portraits become the leaves of the book, their text punched through from behind to be seen in reverse.
It matters to me the surfaces, mediums and materials I use in my artwork and their properties, Preservation (a multi-media photographic installation and copper book shown at the Museum of Modern Art) used rusted photographic self-portraits and sheets of glass to give mirror like reflections in the artwork. A work that challenged the viewer to look beyond their own reflection to see deeper at the destruction that can occur in our lives. Rust leaving behind channels of decay as a witness to exposure that once occurred.
Oil painting with iron, copper, and mica on Irish linen
5' x 4' x 6" depth
Details of the rust copper and mica used in Resurrection
My paintings too are not spared from my obvious distress, the metals iron and copper exist beside a metal that does not corrode, one that expresses value; gold. Raw earth pigments in their natural form are used along with mica that glints on linen surfaces. I like using gold and mica, there is always value and insight to be gained after going through a journey of decay. Experiences do not leave us empty, quite the opposite they leave behind wisdoms that could never have been gleamed before such destruction, before such decay.
Oil painting with copper, gold leaf, and mica flakes on Irish linen
And still true to my very core is my love of drawing; it is the beginning of everything of every idea. And there too my materials matter, is a pencil enough to take lines meant for charcoal? Does what I hold in my hand have the ability to flow and capture my minds eye and at its perfected speed?
Rest in Peace & Tornado Dream
Charcoal on Paper. Graphite and Egg Tempera with Earth Pigments on Paper.
You will find within this portfolio many places where my artwork has ventured over the years, from the written word to drawings which became installations, etchings printed on silk silk tissue paper and artwork which recognizes decay and sees it for its beauty and not its flaw.
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I was born in the East-End of London in 1964. After my foundation and degree in fine art in London and received my PhD at the Slade School of Fine Art (University College London) in 1989. My artworks have been shown at the Museum of Modern Art and won numerous prizes, are held within private collections in the United Kingdom and the United States. After traveling in the US during 1996, I settled in Missouri in 1997. Towards the end of 1999 I became ill with a neurological illness, which changed my entire world and left me housebound. The road from independence to disability I am still seeking to comprehend in my artworks.
1980-1983. At the age of 17 I began studying at Kingsway Princeton College, London, England and completed 3-year foundation in fine arts..
In 1984-1987 3-year fine art degree at Byam Shaw School of Fine Arts, London, England graduating with distinction.
1987-1989 I then began my 2-year post-graduate degree (PhD) in multi-media fine arts at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London (UCL), London, England.
1986 The Julian Sullivan Prize. London, England
1987 The Pamela Ovens' Prize, judged by Leon Kossoff. London, England.
1988 The Jeremy Cubitt Prize, judged by Tony Godfrey. London, England
1987 Tom Allen Arts Center. London, England.
1988 Ave International Audiovisual Festival. Holland
1989 Museum of Modern Art Oxford (MoMA). Oxford, England
1989 Gallery talk on Preservation. Museum of Modern Art, MoMA. Oxford. England.
2001 Xavier Gallery. Kansas. USA
2001 Xavier Gallery. Kansas. USA. Gallery talk with Saint Mary College Art Graduate students.
2001 Panelist, 'Discernment of Truth in Modern Culture’.Saint Mary College. Kansas, MO. USA.
East End of London
The East End of London, also known simply as the East End, is an area of Central, East London and London Docklands, England; east of the Roman and medieval walls of the City of London, and north of the River Thames. The East End is the historic core of wider East London but is not defined by any universally accepted boundaries, though the various channels of the River Lea are often considered to be the eastern boundary.
The East End's emergence began in the Middle Ages with initially slow urban growth outside the eastern walls, which subsequently accelerated, especially in the 19th century, to absorb pre-existing settlements.
The first known written record of the East End as a distinct entity, as opposed its component parts, comes from John Strype's 1720 'Survey of London', where he describes London as consisting of four parts: the City of London, Westminster, Southwark, and "That Part beyond the Tower".
The relevance of Strype's reference to the Tower was more than geographical. The East End was the major part of an area called the Tower Division, which owed military service to the Tower of London. Later, as the East End grew and the Tower Division contracted, the East End became, arguably, conterminous with the Tower Division.
The area was notorious for its deep poverty, overcrowding and associated social problems. This has led to the East End’s history of intense political activism and association with some of the country’s most influential social reformers.
Another major theme of East End history has been that of migration; both inward and outward. The area had a strong pull on the rural poor from other parts of England and attracted waves of migration from further afield: notably Huguenot refugees, who created a new extramural suburb in Spitalfields in the 17th century.
The closure of the last of the East End docks in the Port of London in 1980 created further challenges and led to attempts at regeneration and the formation of the London Docklands Development Corporation. The Canary Wharf development, improved infrastructure, and the Olympic Park mean that the East End is undergoing further change, but some parts continue to contain some of the worst poverty in Britain.
© Denise Evans. 2017