Eliza Evans

Sculpture and Installation Art

Artefactual, 2020

About the Artwork

“The Ship of Theseus is a thought experiment: if all of the constituent pieces of a ship are replaced over time, is it the same ship it was at the beginning? …Artefactual poses the same question as it relates to personhood and identity. From birth to death our bodies are never the same at any two points of time, and large portions of our cells are replaced multiple times throughout a life. So too we gain and shed experiences and memories. We are just beginning to understand our bodies as habitats for microorganisms, the presence or absence of which affects our physical and mental health, further confounding identity and agency. Institutions (tax identification numbers) and technologies (biometrics) assume and impose artificial fixedness that is at odds with our greatest skill as a species—-adaptation.The figures that comprise Artefactual are several cut pieces held together by the tension created by heat shrinkplastic, the same material that is used to winterize boats in boat yards. In this case, the material’s ability to inhibit natural processes has a different meaning. It imposes from the outside an artificial status on what would otherwise be evolving and parts moving in relationship…All the figures are based on a 3D scan of the artist but are not exact copies. They are handmade with subtle differences between them that reflect the hand as well as the idiosyncrasies of the materials used.”

About the Artist

Eliza Evans experiments with construction materials, plastic, trees, wire, electronics, data, and bureaucracy to tease out the impact of past events on current circumstances and to let the future unfold unscripted. The initial parameters of each installation are carefully considered but then evolve as a result of interaction with people, time, and weather.The work asks us to consider the consequences of our disordered relationships with nature and each other. Our actions, as mediated by social, economic, and technological systems, are indelibly inscribed in each other and the landscape. Evans makes these inscribed relationships more legible.Evans was born in a rustbelt steel town and raised in rural Appalachia. She currently splits her time between New York City and the Hudson Valley. Her work was exhibited at the Thomas Erben Gallery, NYC(2020), Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, NY (2019), Edward Hopper House Museum, Nyack, NY (2019), Chashama Sculpture Field, Pine Plains, NY (2018), BRIC, Brooklyn (2017), and Purchase College, Purchase, NY (2017). Residencies include the Art Law Program (forthcoming), National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, UC Santa Barbara (2020), Bronx Museum AIM, and Franconia Sculpture Park, Shafer, MN (both 019). Evans holds an MFA from SUNY Purchase College in visual art and a PhD in economic sociology from the University of Texas at Austin.