Fionnuala Boyd and Leslie Evans are artists who have worked collaboratively since 1968, meeting when they were students – Boyd at Leeds University and Evans at Leeds College of Art. As painters they used photography as a research tool, building banks of images for reference, which they combined in ambiguous compositions that were both surreal and immaculately executed.
While still continuing to paint, with the advent of digital imaging they embraced the possibility of creating photographic compositions in their own right in a range of scale, from small to monumental. As in their painting, their pleasure in detail remains undiminished as is evident in their compositions configured to fit the walls in the Lobby of One Canada Square.
This exhibition of photographs, panoramic in reach and of narrative content, marks their first installation of a collection of monumental compositions relating to their excursions to the deserts of South Western America; a temperate rainforest in Washington State and a huge English beech tree.
Conveying wide open spaces – in effect, big landscapes – became a subject for Boyd & Evans’ paintings from their first visit to the United States in 1977-78, which was made possible through being awarded the Bicentennial Fellowship, British Council and National Endowment for the Arts (USA). They were stunned by the magnitude of the landscapes they saw, but around twenty years passed before their second visit, when they were reassured to find their love for the landscape and the inspiration it gave them in their work had not diminished. When funds allow, they have visited America regularly ever since, including in 2015 when they gathered material for their current work.
While their need to paint seems less evident in their work since 2005, they have not given it up entirely although when they had a solo exhibition, Landmarks, at the Milton Keynes Gallery in that year they chose to show just photographic works. Here too we focus on photographs, which have been made with technology offered through digital imaging and include those printed using our Giclée Fine Art Printing and ChromaLuxe Fine Art Printing services.
Anecdotes 2004-07, an early example of their photographic narratives, tells of a number of journeys they made across the western states of America through encounters with places, people, objects, animals, debris, strange plants and weather, set against a common horizon. Like paintings in which they brought together diverse components in singular compositions, this photograph, made from many, in effect does the same. The panoramic length of Anecdotes has given Boyd & Evans the opportunity to wrap it round a corner, thereby giving the installation a continuous composition running along south- and east-facing walls of the Lobby.
About Boyd & Evans:
Fionnuala Boyd was born in 1944 in Welwyn Garden City, and Les Evans in 1945, in St. Albans. They began working together in 1968 as painters, using photography as their source material. At a time when photo-realist painting was to the fore, they resisted that label, preferring their work to be considered as surrealist in intent and feeling. Their compositions were often ambiguous, obscuring strange narratives that needed to be unravelled. They posed questions, What?’ Where?’ Why?’ and also How?’ as their paintings were immaculately executed revealing no clue as to whose hand had painted which part. The anonymity of the photographic print suits their methodology very well indeed, yet the surreal seams of mystery and their need to provoke questioning remain strong aspects of their work.
They have exhibited internationally since 1970 in group and solo exhibitions and their work is in some forty public and corporate collections in Britain and abroad.
Boyd & Evans: Big Landscapes
18 July ”” 2 September 2016
Daily 7am – midnight
One Canada Square,
Boyd & Evans: Big Landscapes – Curator / Artists Tour
Tuesday 23 August
6.30 ”” 7.15pm
Curator Ann Elliott tours the exhibition with Fionnuala Boyd and Leslie Evans. The tour is free but please contact Canary Wharf Public Art Office at firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve a place.
Boyd & Evans are represented by Flowers Gallery.