Jake Wood-Evans in ‘Darkness Visible’
On Show at the Leyden Gallery, London


Wednesday 12th March to Saturday 12th April, 2014

Leyden Gallery will be hosting an exhibition of new oil paintings by Jake Wood-Evans this spring, showing alongside lithographs by Henry Moore.

”Jake Wood-Evans’ work lives with and aspires to classical standards, and his paintings are tense with one of art’s classic disputes: the conflict between truth and beauty. His instinct has always been to make something wonderful for the eye; and his shows are shocking partly because of the sheer overflowing gorgeous technique they display. These oils are alive, and paying homage to their ancestors. A flash of Turner’s light, the glint of a Velasquez eye; Richter’s ‘technological’ blurring: aesthetic high points from the history of art are here. Dangerous company to keep, perhaps, but these paintings are triumphantly realized.

But they aren’t just spectacles. There is something obsessive about Wood-Evans’ constant returning to the past, as though he were in search of a reality, a significance, he cannot find in the present day. There is a hunger in this body of work for the real, the true. The source images wilt under the emotional pressure, implode, fade to black.

‘Darkness Visible’: Satan’s first impressions of Hell in Milton’s Paradise Lost. Darkness is everywhere in Wood-Evans work; from the terrific absences framing the ambiguous dead heroes of the portraits, to the vast nothingness sucking in the exquisite limbs of Boucher’s lyrically erotic nymph.”

Text by Nicholas Hallam