My work is a response to current national and global crises – and the delusions, fantasies, and toxic emotions that are attached to that relationship framed within a dystopian parallel universe using an abstracted, non-linear narrative. There is a repetition of self-flagellation in a frustrated response to media consumption, targeted marketing, socially embedded masculinity, and the human cost of capitalism worship. Building on the rich tradition of Dadaism and Pop Art, I experiment with the intersection of text and image to explore language as a medium. Embedded within, is a macabre, mercurial and humorously self-deprecating grotesqueness often used to mask a dangerous mix of fear and frustrated anger.
Within my drawings and paintings is an abstract narrative of the harmful effects of unfettered capitalism, viewed through the lens of American Imperialism. A physical cost in blood and death goes hand in hand with a society idolizing unrestricted corporate greed. Animal abuse, violence, and catastrophic injury are great literal and metaphorical examples of this concept because if it generates enough money, the abuse and murder of humans and animals are not only tolerated but celebrated. On a larger scale, this death cost can be seen in the avoidable deaths of workers and consumers with no accountability aside from monetary punishment; which is not a punishment if the perpetrator has billions of dollars. In an attempt to turn the tables, I try to dehumanize the wealthy class, like they have done to the poor over the centuries. By portraying them as mutant thumb people, I am humorously and subversively showing the viewer how their tools are used against them. The nosebleed stadium seating is indicative of the disappearing middle class and as always, there are the police officers (which I named Panopticops, a pun referring to Foucault’s panopticon theory of constant surveillance) separating the middle class from the wealthy. The rest of my drawings and paintings exist within the structure of the universe as I explore the dark humor of this social disparity.
Aside from symbolic characters, I use saturated and saccharine colors to a point of excess, because this whole world is about excess and confronts the viewer with the uncomfortable nature of this fact. I layer and rework my drawings and paintings to instill the anxiety, nervousness, and trepidation of the grim reality we are in as a physical disciple and manifestation in my work. The texture evokes feelings of layers of cheap varnish over a slowly decaying palace. I encourage the viewer to lean in and absorb the minutiae and labor involved in making something so decadent as a direct comparison to the luxury we see around us.
My goal in my artistic approach is to pull my viewers in with seemingly sophomoric humor and then force them to confront them with the dark reality of the world. The closer they look, the more they can see the exploitation, greed, and death involved in maintaining a lifestyle of wealth, leisure, and luxury. I also realize that many of my audience members are part of the culture I am exposing and critiquing and I want their viewership and presence to be a source of irony in the reception of my work.
Christopher Evans (b.1985, Schenectady, NY, USA) is an artist, educator, and writer. Christopher holds an MA in Studio Arts from the University at Albany and a Masters in Fine Arts from the University of South Florida. There is a heavy influence from him teaching himself to draw by copying comic books and his anxiety from being raised with an apocalyptic evangelical worldview. He draws from his own depression, anxiety, and unique evangelical upbringing. His work is saturated with obviousness, grotesqueness, clichés, and bad jokes as he tries to visually navigate causations and contradictions through an abstract narrative. Christopher currently works and resides in Saratoga Springs, NY.