Arts and Entertainment

Clinton artist explores Earth’s objects in art installations

Richard Evans contemplates an art installation called “Poor Little Rich Boy.” Evans includes mirrors in his work to “get people involved in the art — just for a moment,” he said.  - Celeste Erickson / The Record
Richard Evans contemplates an art installation called “Poor Little Rich Boy.” Evans includes mirrors in his work to “get people involved in the art — just for a moment,” he said.
— image credit: Celeste Erickson / The Record

When artist Richard Evans walks into his Clinton studio, he walks into an area full of objects that have taken on another life.

Milk Duds boxes attached to the wheel of a tire, office chairs turned upside down, and packing peanuts forming a pool around a figurine are all part of Evans’ work in art installations.

In his upcoming exhibit, “Near-Earth Objects,” Evans is taking viewers out of this world and into one in which a fictional character is looking back at Earth through his art installations.

“I attempt to make people smile,” Evans said. “I want people to slow down a little.”

The show will run from Jan. 3 to Feb. 2 at the Bayview Cash Store. An opening reception of the exhibit will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 3 at the Bayview Cash Store, 5603 Bayview Road, Langley.

Evans is also known for his work in film as a director, writer and producer of feature-length films. He acted in roles for TV shows such as “Peyton Place,” “Gunsmoke,” “Mr. Novak,” “Bonanza,” “Mod Squad,” “Lou Grant” and “Star Trek.” He most recently directed “Frost/Nixon” at the Whidbey Island Center for the Arts in 2012.

Evans spent six months building the 32 pieces of mixed media installations featured in the show.

The work is not typical art, Evans said.

He scoured thrift stores, junkyards and even ventured into dumpster diving to find items he could repurpose and materials people would not expect. The result is a collection of “found objects,” Evans described.

Many of the pieces took multiple days to set up in the space, which was one of the biggest difficulties for Evans. He said it was a challenge to figure out the logistics of assembling everything into the Bayview space. 

“I’m moving stuff that was never meant to be moved in the first place,” he said.

The show documents the findings of a fictional futuristic space explorer, Commander Dexter T. Rose, Jr., who works as an astronaut for the National Bureau of International Bureaus. The exhibit is set as Commander Rose’s space museum, complete with tours from organizers Marian Myszkowski and Shelley Hartle.

The work is a commentary on concepts ranging from the military industrial complex, technical data and the manipulations of the entertainment and advertising industries.

“I want to entertain the thought about the business of competition that runs the world,” he said.

Evans was invited to show his work by Myszkowski, who is also the director of program and fund development at Goosefoot. Myszkowski said she was impressed by his work in the past and thought he deserved a one-man show, and the Bayview Cash Store was the place to do it.

“He has a gift for combining found and repurposed objects with philosophical and political thought,” she said. “It’s a great fusion.”

Myszkowski was taken by the way Evans approaches his work. He’s not trying to please anybody with his art, she said.

“He puts things together in new unique ways, but also makes you think about things as well,” she said. “It’s like Richard has taken everything he’s ever learned, thought and felt and put it into visual form.”

Evans described the title of the show as applicable to the artist as well.

“Near Earth covers the work and the artist,” Evans joked.

“I try to make things fresh, not the same,” he said.


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