Exhibiting 04 October – 14 December at Site Gallery
A prolific artist working in sculpture and on paper, Garth Evans is known for his geometric sculptural work. From an early point in his career, Evans was interested in the sculptural properties of steel. It was no doubt for this reason that the Artist Placement Group (APG), established in 1965, selected Evans for a placement with the British Steel Corporation in 1969. APG aimed to promote the value of artists in British industry as salaried individuals working with an open brief.
This exhibition presents a cross section of documentary material relating to Evans’ placement. This, the first industrial placement secured by APG, was in many ways an experiment—placing an artist into a corporation in the midst of massive reorganisation, at a time of significant challenge for the nationalised steel industry. The material here spans the period from before the nationalisation of the steel industry in 1967, through significant change (alongside massive government investment), focusing activity in just seven major production facilities. Having—deliberately—no clear brief, Evans’ work was as much about the observation of working practices as outcomes. His concern was with the formal qualities of the production process, to the impact on the workforce following the lack of creativity allowed for in the design of jobs. At times unwelcome, these insights nevertheless allowed Evans and APG to build a strong relationship with BSC’s director of public relations Christopher Patey, who became a powerful advocate for the principles behind the artist placement.
Garth Evans was born in Cheshire in the 1930s. He currently lives and works in Connecticut, and teaches as Head of Sculpture at the New York Studio School. Evans studied sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, London and has exhibited widely in both the UK and USA. His work has been collected by The Tate; The Arts Council Collection; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Modern Art, New York; and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Evans’ work and photographic archive is presented courtesy of Poussin Gallery, London; Tate Collections and the artist.
- Photograph from British Steel Corporation placement. Courtesy of Poussin Gallery, London