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In Brief: Evan Nesbit at Weiss, Berlin

A tactile show in Berlin of the California-based painter refreshes colour-field abstraction for our digital age of infinite screen time

With Evan Nesbit’s paintings, the memory of 20th-century colour-field abstraction seeps into the present. His mid- to large-scale canvases are made of burlap, which he stains, dyes or bleaches, before using his paintbrush and hands to press paint – as one might in a garlic press – through the material’s warp and weft. This performative action has sculptural results; pigments are secreted as slender filaments from fibrous pores. In this show of eleven works at Weiss Berlin, paintings including Fragile Style Light Farm (2019) reference the grid, with canary yellow oozing through an uneven network of black lines. Its variegated surface is topographic.

Evan Nesbit, Fragile Style Light Farm, 2019, acrylic and ink on dyed burlap, 110 × 90 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Weiss Berlin

Nesbit lives in Grass Valley, US, a slow-paced town in the western foothills of the Sierra Nevada, and has cited an interest in California’s anti-establishment Funk Art scene – the zany colours of Maija Peeples-Bright, for example. His multi-coloured tie-dye ‘Porosity’ series (2017–19) winks at the movement’s bohemianism. The tactility of Nesbit’s paintings begs to be physically experienced – his response to the inevitability of today’s infinite screen time and scrolling. His practice implores: what will slow us down; how will we appear on the other side of digital culture? Squeezed individuals, once connected. 

Evan Nesbit, Porosity (Too Far Away To Be Seen), 2019, acrylic on dyed burlap, 110 × 90 cm. Courtesy: the artist and Weiss Berlin

'Evan Nesbit' runs at Weiss Berlin until 25 May 2019.

Main image: Evan Nesbit, Modal Painting (detail), 2019, acrylic and ink on dyed burlap, 2.0 × 1.8 m. Courtesy: the artist and Weiss Berlin

Louisa Elderton is a writer and editor based in Berlin, Germany. She was the Project Editor of Phaidon’s survey books Vitamin T: Threads & Textiles in Contemporary Art and Vitamin C: Clay + Ceramic in Contemporary Art, and is Content Editor of their upcoming publication The Art Book: Women Artists, due for publication Autumn 2019

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