Eva Wylie

Philadelphia, PA | by November 6, 2013

Eva Wylie is a Philadel­phia based print­maker who has a stu­dio in the Crane Arts Build­ing in Philadelphia’s Old Kens­ing­ton neigh­bor­hood. You won’t find a lot of tra­di­tional framed prints on paper by Eva Wylie, but most likely you will see instal­la­tions sculpted from prints on hand cut paper and laser-​​cut pieces of wood, or images printed onto the flat wall itself.

The viewer’s expe­ri­ence of the work is in a con­stant state of flux as we are invited to pon­der the rela­tion­ship between micro and macro, inte­rior and exte­rior, tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary. Upon first view, Eva’s instal­la­tions appear to depict scenery such as land for­ma­tions of islands or caves, dec­o­ra­tive land­scape archi­tec­tural ele­ments such as wreaths or top­i­aries.  How­ever, as you step closer, you find that the marks that make up each larger image are smaller indi­vid­ual images them­selves and often unre­lated in sub­ject mat­ter to the orig­i­nal image. Some of the marks are made up of braided hair, fern fronds, scrunchies, foil gift bows, striped umbrel­las and even candy-​​colored pieces of fruit.  On closer inspec­tion still, each of these smaller images dis­solves into edge­less half tone dots, seem­ingly float­ing in space.

Themes for her work are culled from her every­day encoun­ters– sto­ries she’s lis­tened to on the radio, con­ver­sa­tions she’s over­heard on the street, and arti­cles she’s read. Eva told me about a radio story she’d heard about the pineberry, a straw­berry that was cul­ti­vated to taste like a pineap­ple. This story turned into an over­sized glossy pur­ple straw­berry. Eva refers to this kind of eye-​​catching imagery as “cul­tural ephemera” or “detri­tus”.  These bits ands pieces, drawn both from the com­mer­cial and the nat­ural world, are sym­bols of our throw­away cul­ture that remain trapped in our visual land­scape and hence have appre­ci­ated beyond their orig­i­nal value.

She fur­ther empha­sizes that her impe­tus to cre­ate tem­po­rary site-​​specific instal­la­tions is due to the ease of being able to erase the work and imme­di­ately move on to the next thing.  This approach is another man­i­fes­ta­tion of her inter­est with the imper­ma­nent and dis­pos­able.  Since she doesn’t like to store her art, most of the objects I encoun­tered in her stu­dio were mostly sketches, printed rem­nants of pre­vi­ous instal­la­tions, and a few framed pieces left over from a show last year at the Philadel­phia Art Alliance.

Sur­pris­ingly, there was also a pair of small paint­ings hang­ing in her stu­dio that Eva made this sum­mer dur­ing a res­i­dency at The Atlantic Cen­ter for the Arts in Florida.  The first paint­ing was a close-​​up depic­tion of a print from a Hawai­ian shirt found in a thrift store in Florida.  Eva told me she was inspired by the shirt’s pat­tern as an exist­ing pop cul­tural rem­nant of a fil­tered ver­sion of a trop­i­cal land­scape. This series she made in Florida prompted her to revisit paint­ing, draw­ing and tra­di­tional print­mak­ing on paper on a larger scale. She cites var­i­ous gar­dens includ­ing the famous Long­wood Gar­den in Penn­syl­va­nia as a source for her future imagery in her col­lage mix media work.

Eva Wylie was a mem­ber of the well known artist run Vox Pop­uli gallery in Philadel­phia. She is cur­rently a fac­ulty mem­ber of the Print­mak­ing Depart­ment at Mary­land Insti­tute Col­lege of Art in Bal­ti­more. While she divides her time between Philadel­phia and Bal­ti­more, she ded­i­cates the rest of her time to mak­ing new work in her stu­dio. Click here to see more of her work: http://www.evawylie.com.

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1 Comment

  • Judith Pratt says:

    It is excit­ing to be intro­duced to Eva’s work. Whether view­ing her com­plex images within images, the every­day cul­tural “sound bites” that crop up in her work, or her use of good rea­son­ing with regard to tem­po­rary site-​​specific instal­la­tions, she is an artist whose work is impor­tant to follow.

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