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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