October 2022 - London Art Fair preview event
In Jake Wood-Evans’ most recent body of work, he returns to figurative painting with an emphasis on traditional hunting scenes from 18th and 19th-century European art. These are not straightforward replications of the source imagery, however, as the saboteur creeps in to disrupt the values that are idealised and encoded in the originals.
The artist reimagines works by René Théodore Bethon, Nathaniel Dance-Holland and Henry Raeburn, in which powerful men are lionised with their guns and their dogs. Throughout history, hunting scenes have been associated with the privileged pastimes of the upper classes, reinforcing a social hierarchy that seems outdated and undesirable from a contemporary perspective. Wood- Evans encourages this ambiguity through the complex layering of his materials that hints at only partially excavated meanings.
With sketchy outlines, gestural strokes of paint and visible areas of raw canvas, the images appear to deconstruct before our eyes, calling into question their continued hegemony. The artist and viewer collectively take on the role of saboteur, undertaking a critical reassessment of these images and perhaps uncovering resonances with present-day issues.
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