Evan Nesbit

American, b. 1985

Porosity (Brushed II), 2014, acrylic on burlap, 60 x 48 inches

Porosity (Black II), 2014, acrylic on burlap, 20 x 16 inches


Nesbit paints on tightly stretched burlap; more precisely, he paints through burlap.

His paintings look like complex tie-dye from afar. They have a mesmerizing effect as if they have captured and stretched musicality and momentum onto the stretched burlap canvas. This is easy to sense when you squint at the works ever so slightly, or when you simply try to capture it on a phone. The colors seem dizzying and wobbly, when they aren’t actually in person.

Aesthetically, his works stand alone overall, but are exemplified in the details. Process-wise, Nesbit paints on panels which he pieces together. These create fabulous moments where irregular burlap seams meet both messy and meticulous globs of paint. This irregularity is key in a high-paced and technical world where perfection is more easily programmed and planned.

At times, the paint comes out into the viewer’s space physically and forms a sculptural layer on the surface. It is three-dimensional and enticing, the closer one gets to the wall. It is only by standing in front of the work, examining its texture and vibrating color relationships, that one can truly comprehend it. It is only in the real world that these works can be experienced—and this is what contemporary nonrepresentational painting remains about.