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Creative Research Lab

Plots and Schemes - April 2005

installation by Evans

Ward Evans
Any Picture Will Do , 2005
mixed media installation
variable dimensions (approx. 10' h x 35' w)

For years I wanted to be Barry Bonds and hit a homerun with every painting - which led to alot of frustration and desperation. I was jumping around from one subject to another, and my batting average just kept sinking (In 2003 I never even made it to first base and was facing early retirement). I decided to go back to the fundamentals and just choose a subject and stick with it until some kind of feeling or meaning began to unfold. I started thinking of myself as a utility outfielder who was just happy to be at the ballpark every day.

I chose this photo because it was just a "picture" - straightforward even in the restrictiveness of yearbook aesthetics. Initially the guy seemed like a poster child for teenage awkwardness but every once in a while he possessed a certain confidence that suggested someone older. I liked that he looked confused, as if he didn't know the picture would be taken and was caught in mid-expression - not projecting any kind of façade.

in dealing with this portrait I tried to think in a lateral direction instead of a vertical one, generating as many alternative possibilities as possible. Instead of moving forward, step by step, I would jump in at different points and change focus frequently - disrupting any kind of sequential flow of thoughts. Each step didn't have to be justified and things could deliberately be exposed to chance events or ideas outside of the situation (thus sidetracking any existing patterns or thoughts). This method of working allowed me to climb out of my slump and possibly saved an innocent chicken from being superstitiously sacrificed. It continuously led to something bigger and allowed the game to become fun again.