There is a special luminosity arising from most of John Evans' seven works at the Allan Stone Gallery created by a most complex and intricately worked surface. While there are some odd viewer angles, and a virtuoso display of the palette knife at work, the final impact of each work - or, rather, each but one - is neither novel or spectacular, but rather appealing, a display of light as color, and color is clearly at the command of the artist. Up close all is revealed, the strokes and smears, the overworkings and underpaintings, much is direct and all continue to make a painting no matter how close one creeps - the surface does not collapse into the means, the brushwork, but retains the image.
The best distance is at ten or so feet where the surface tends to blend and set, the light spread, and the flash and glitter of hand takes its proper place. And the impact often is not flash and glitter, but a glowing sensuality arising from a specific place transformed into paintings that are often as close to Abstract-Expressionist exercise as conventional landscapes. Yet, they are and remain landscapes, would not work upside down, would not work but for the subject, the scene. They are thus what they are: landscapes shaped with a concentration of painterliness that only once or twice interferes with the total image.
One work River Charles, 1991, somehow seems to fail on all accounts, lacks luminosity, lacks evidence of great skill of hand - and so, one assumes, must be an artist favorite, its other virtues and other charms not visible to the innocent eye. It was also made in 1991, and most of the others more recently, so perhaps times for Evans have changed for the better.
Generally, there is a great weeding out before a show so that what is displayed has, perhaps, a greater coherence than the daily results out of the studio. This does not, however, seem to be the case with the work here - even excluding River Charles - for all are special in special ways, and yet all very much possessed of the same virtues, same use of paint, exude the same luminosity, display a similar means. Yet big or small, one is intimate and another public, one displays the means boldly and another more subtly - in a sense the means are not subtl but their result is. The means are splots and dabs and the deployment of the entire spectrum of color, often smeared on, dabbed in. And the smears and dabs, each a risk and most achieve a success, falter only when they run close to cliche': a dab of red as flower. Mostly, however, what impresses is the meld of means that shapes each work into a special variant. And these works do not require a special eye, for in the end they charm, glitter with color, glow on Stone's walls.
– JBB, Review, Reviews & previews of current exhibitions in New York March 1, 1997