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Evans' Sculpture Wins AAN Award

The Inquirer and Mirror. Sept. 10, 1998

The Inquirer and Mirror
Thursday, September 10, 1998
Evans' Sculpture Wins AAN Award
By Catherine Fahy
I&M Staff Writer

Nantucket is the home of the romantic seascape, so it's no surprise that many of the pieces in the Artists' Association of Nantucket's ongoing juried show feature the sea.

But it is a surprise that the Best of Show award went to a sculptor whose work represents the sea only in its wave-like, undulating shape.

John Evans' African mahogany sculpture on travertine, "The Space Between Us," [pictured] is an abstract depiction of the human relationship and is the first sculpture in several years to win a Best of Show award at the AAN's juried show, judged this year by Nantucket Magazine Art Director Robert Frazier.

Frazier chose Evans' sculpture over 124 other submissions, said Beth Powers, director of the AAN's gallery on Washington Street, where the show hangs through Tuesday.

Frazier gave the two other Best of Show awards to Barbara Kaufman Locke for her pen and watercolor "Summer Joy," and to Sherri Bustad for her watercolor "Barbed Balcony."

"We're giving a lot of credit to (Frazier) for knowing sculpture," Powers said.

Island sculptor David Hostetler, who is from the same region of Ohio as Evans and introduced him to the island, said Evans' recognition is due, particularly because people rarely understand sculpture.

Years ago, when Hostetler told his mother that he was switching from painting to sculpture, she asked him if he was ever going to be an artist again.

Sculpture is something they bump into when they're looking at the painting," Hostetler said with a laugh.

Evans acknowledged the traditional bent of art on the island and said he likes being an anomaly.

"It's the exception that you see contemporary things," he said. "I like to be the contemporary twist."

Although Evans considers Hostetler a mentor, it was not sculpture that brought the two together.

"We met when he was dating my daughter in high school and I talked him out of it," Hostetler said. Evans said he traded Hostetler his daughter, Ann, for a set of carving tools, which he still has.

Later, Hostetler became his adviser at Ohio University in Athens. After college, he visited Nantucket with the Hostetlers and now stays with them at least twice a year, helping David bring his sculptures back to Ohio in fall.

In addition to crafting wood sculptures in his dairy barn in Walnut Township, Ohio, Evans teaches electronic music at nearby Muskingum College. His work is on exhibit or in collections in Ohio, Santa Fe, San Francisco, and Washington D.C.

On Nantucket, in addition to the AAN, his work is exhibited at the Old Spouter Gallery. When he was making "The Space Between Us," he said he was trying to create an illusion of separateness - the two pieces of wood curve around each other but never touch - as well as togetherness.

"When you look at it down through the two pieces they sort or form a torso," he said. "It's sort of the play of a single being."

"The Space Between Us" invites a lot of interpretation, something Evans said he's proud of.

"To me the joy of art is that art should make you think," he said.

Barbara Vanderbilt, who knows Evans through Hostetler, admires work because it's unusual.

"It's so abstract and three-dimensional, unlike anything else I've seen on the island," she said. "For him to get the prize was a major breakthrough."

John Evans' sculpture, called "The Space Between Us," took one of three Best of Show awards at the AAN's recent juried exhibit

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