Jake Wood-Evans’ work is a manifestation of his complex relationship with British art history. At once haunting and seductive; evocative and familiar, Wood-Evans’ oeuvre resists a definitive interpretation. 18th Century figures appear as apparitions, wreathed in gossamer oils they peer out from linen canvases: faceless, ghoulish memories of an imperial past.
Wood-Evans is a devotee of eighteenth century art - as such, his works have been significantly influenced by the great masters of the golden age of British painting including Sir Joshua Reynolds and Sir Henry Raeburn. His 2018 solo exhibition at Unit London, Transitions saw his focus shift from portraiture towards landscape and abstraction.
Taking influence from the likes of John Constable, J.M.W. Turner, Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, and George Stubbs, Wood-Evans' paintings retain recognisable elements that allude to the conventions of art history. Drawing on these British masters' legacies, his intention is to capture the essence of these historic works without replicating them, depicting familiar yet obscured subject matter, creating an uncanny effect. Through first creating, then scrubbing away, reworking and removing sections of a scene, the artist reveals ghostly infrastructures that preserve the warmth and glow of the original painting. In such, he encourages us to look again, beyond the surface of the traditional image and see anew.
Describing his work as, "a process of conflict with the ambiguous space between representation and abstraction", Wood-Evans resists the urge to provide easy readings or instantly accessible compositions. He invites the viewer to pause and quietly contemplate a series of multi-layered paintings that denote a common visual language built through our shared history and consumption of art imagery.
Wood-Evans currently lives and works in Hastings, East Sussex. As well as exhibitions at international art fairs and private collections around the world, his work has been shown at galleries in London and across the UK. After well-received 2016, 2017 and 2019 solo exhibitions: Subjection & Discipline, Transitions and Legacy & Disorder with Unit London, Jake Wood-Evans is in high demand. Wood-Evans debuted as a feature artist in his first ever museum exhibition, REPORTRAIT at the Nottingham Castle Museum in 2018 and has also exhibited at the Winchester Discovery Centre with Relic in 2020.