Evan Robarts is tall and skinny and blonde. He’s definitely kind and probably shy, someone who has learned to be outgoing but still can’t shake a vague nervousness around others. Evan Robarts is also an artist, although for a time he also worked as a superintendent for a residential building in East New York. Evan talks about how valuable and eye-opening the relationships he fostered with the residents of the building where he worked were, and how frustrated he used to get over being privy to their problems, financial and otherwise, but being all but powerless to come to their aid. Evan’s job as the building’s super included general maintenance and cleaning, tasks which he describes as ‘menial’. Evan is a creative person, and although he initially hated carrying out these repetitive, simple tasks, they were ultimately the source of his greatest inspiration. In particular, he became interested in mopping floors, a duty
which he once found boring, but then held his renewed fascination as he considered the invisible patterns he was making on the floor. Now, a majority of the artwork Evan produces are what he calls ‘mop paintings’, where he ‘paints’ a mixture of water and plaster with a mop onto a field of colored linoleum tiles, thus making the gestural motion of his mop on linoleum visible. Evan is interested in materials, especially industrial
materials, and explores how to showcase them in contexts completely different from the ones they were intended for. He trades canvas for tile, paint for plaster and brushes for mop, and hangs these unusual compositions made of humble materials on the walls of important galleries. Most recently, he opened a show entitled Super Reliable at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery in Chelsea, where giant sculptures of chicken wire glass threaded with garden hoses stand alongside his characteristic mop paintings. Even so, his artwork doesn’t seem out of place; on the contrary, they are beautiful in not only their superficial composition but also in their purity of design and intention.
*Evan Robart’s solo show Super Reliable
Is on view at the Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, 505 W 24th St,
From June 23rd to July 30th