Discover the Dazzling, Abstract Paintings of Emerging Art Star Pam Evelyn
The youngest artist to join the roster of Pace, the UK talent has already had a two-floor debut show at the London gallery and is geared for a bright future
In Pam Evelyn’s white box of a studio in London, some canvases stretch almost to the ceiling; others are smaller, stacked one on top of the other. Most, however, are facing inward, revealing only their raw linen back sides. “They’re the ones that have gone totally wrong,” says Evelyn, whose more successful abstracts have been attracting attention since she graduated from London’s Royal College of Art last year.
From her edit of outward-facing works, it’s easy to see why. They brim with dynamic mark making and brilliant color. Each thick impasto surface is built up in layers over several months, yet the results appear impulsive rather than labored. “Her expansive, sublime paintings hold a rare strength and vitality,” says Elliot McDonald, senior vice president of Pace, London, which announced representation of Evelyn—the youngest artist on its books—in July, then swiftly followed up with a two-floor debut exhibition in its gallery in September.
Titled “A Handful of Dust,” the solo show centered on two monumental paintings created at the historic Porthmeor Studios in Cornwall, England. “They’re the two extremities,” says Evelyn of Hidden Scene (2022), a towering triptych with vibrant swaths of color tantalizingly intersected with segments of raw canvas, and the dense, cascading Deluge (2023), which the artist describes as “an overstimulation of information to the brink of combustion.”
Contrary to all the gusto of the works, “almost every painting has a point of existential crisis—a moment when it’s either going to work or just completely crumble,” says Evelyn. “It’s quite discomforting, but it seems to be a crucial and significant process. It almost relies on that period of despair.”
Even as her professional success grows, her painterly failures continue to play a significant role. “I still have my technically worst-ever painting,” she muses. “A lot can be said in mistakes. I’m trying to learn how to expose those more vulnerable, fragile moments and allow them to exist.”
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2023 Collectors Issue under the headline “Active Voice.” Subscribe to the magazine.