IMAGING THE SPIRITUAL
1980 – 2010
Imaging the Spiritual 1980-2010, sums up the guiding forces and inspirational principles behind the photography of Joyce Evans, which continue to inform her inquiring eye, seeking out the beauty, synergy and spiritual in the everyday.
Behind each and every image by Evans, the spiritual is the binding thread which unites them. Her lens often seeks out the omnipresent symbol of the Cross, perhaps as a subconscious homage to the Judeo-Christian tradition of Western civilisation. This can be seen in the innumerable telegraph poles that populate her work, the geometric alignments of roads and horizons in her landscapes and in the silhouette of a crossbar in a window frame.
Joyce Evans says that obtaining a successful photographic image is like receiving ‘a gift’. This metaphor becomes apparent in Evans’ oeuvre as one trawls through hundreds of her photographic images, in both the dark room and on the computer screen. All it takes is one particular angle of light or sudden turn of the head to transform a good photograph into an image of transcendent quality.
It was a gut feeling that a ‘gift’ was about to be bestowed that prompted Evans on the trip to Prague in 1989. There she caught a glimpse of the Jewish Cemetery in spring, its ancient stones holding the air of mystery and imparting intricate shadows through its winding pathways. Yet when she returned to the same site in 2007, that indescribable air had gone, absorbed by the commercialism of tourism and sterilised by the order of ropes, signs and guided tour groups.
The images taken by Joyce Evans on both these occasions form the impetus behind the present exhibition, as well as where they sit along the continuum of her wider photographic career from the 1980s to the present day. Through her chosen medium of photography, she shares her vision and these ‘gifts’ with us.
Herself a product of a culturally-diverse heritage and widely travelled, Evans is keenly attuned to the spiritual beliefs of other cultures. Evans’ New Guinea Christ series illustrates her continuous fascination with the reinterpretation of Christianity and its relation to culture. In Thailand she was moved by the exquisite sadness of a damaged Buddha. While documenting the lives of remote Indigenous communities, Evans began to identify with the intense spirituality that connects the people and the land. It is this spiritual quality that unites the work.
© Adapted from an essay by Eugene Barilo v. Reisberg, 2010
To request the full exhibition essay please contact Obscura Gallery.