9 x 2 = 18

9 X 2 = 18

All colours appear in nature, but rarely all at once. 

On Evan Woodruffe’s canvases, colours bump up against each other in ways we rarely see outside of a rainforest, where shining green leaves fall to the ground, turning to vibrant fungus, to dark humus, to fresh, miraculous sprouts. 

Woodruffe’s paintings are emphatically decorative, luring the gaze with lush hues and rippling patterns. However, they are guileless in their seduction – there is no ruse, no bitterness. Coming close to the canvas will only reward the viewer with new depths of detail: marks which appear flurried come into focus, revealing the slow patience behind their creation; surfaces appear aqueous, are built up from lissom layers of wetness; delicate cracks and hollows emerge from the murk, the canvas breathes and sighs.

While these organic readings of Woodruffe’s paintings are compelling threads, they form only part of the fabric. These works weave expansive narratives, are responsive to the newly networked landscape of our accelerating blue planet – where WiFi signal reaches into the Amazon and sharks attack fibre optic cables buried deep under the sea. While the initial impulse is to compare Woodruffe’s works to the vastness and diversity of the rainforest, reef, or cosmos, these same qualities can equally be found at our fingertips, shining through screens. Woodruffe has said that his paintings respond to our augmented reality by “proposing a fluid way of encountering the world.” They create rhythms rather than hierarchies, forms are watery and move fluidly.

These paintings communicate the narrative and feeling of the world, far more so than simply the look of it. Woodruffe’s paintings move past realism, they collapse the scenery, the props and the people into one boundless, porous ecosystem saturating the land, stretching across and beneath the oceans, spiraling up into the clouds, encompassing the Cloud. 

Abridged from the essay supple hues by Lucinda Bennett that accompanied Woodruffe’s presentation at Sydney Contemporary for Paul Nache, September 2017.

Photography: Sait Akkirman [paintings], Thomas Teutenberg [installation]
Text: Lucinda Bennett

Download the PDF Catalogue [6.6MB]

Evan Woodruffe

In Studio with Evan Woodruffe

Hypnic Jerks at PAULNACHE