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’ work maintains a close and complex relationship with British art history. His paintings draw particularly from works of the golden age of British painting and its main proponents such as Sir Joshua Reynolds, Thomas Gainsborough and Sir Henry Raeburn. Wood-Evans’ oeuvre seems to blur the boundaries between past and present by encapsulating the essence of these works, but never by becoming mere replications. Instead, his paintings appear as ghostly rebirths. They are simultaneously distinct and indistinct, eluding exact interpretation and opening up possibilities for multiple readings. 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.
In the studio with Jake Wood-Evans, 2017
Legacy & Disorder | In talk with Jake Wood-Evans
Jake Wood-Evans (b.1980) is considered one of the leading figures of contemporary British painting. Drawing on the legacy of 18th century British masters, his work has been viewed as much-needed escapism from a world dominated by the digital and has been exhibited widely across the UK, as well as in international art fairs. Wood-Evans holds a BA Hons in Fine Art from Falmouth University, and was subsequently awarded a scholarship from the Royal Academy for classical study at the Prado museum in Madrid. He has exhibited with museums including the Nottingham Castle Museum & Art Gallery (UK), The Holburne (UK), Winchester Discovery Centre (UK) and more recently, the Mougins Museum of Classical Art (France). Wood-Evans’ work can be found in private collections internationally, including collections in New York, Malaysia, London, Antwerp and Miami. The artist has presented three well received solo exhibitions with Unit London followed by his latest solo exhibition, entitled The Edge of Reality (2022). The artist currently lives and works near Lewes, East Sussex.