The work you're looking at exists within a strange space. It’s not all photography, not quite painting, and not quite drawing. They are prints that have been meticulously destroyed, either through carving or chemical alteration; each subjected to a subtractive gesture that reveals latent color beneath the surface.
The markings come from a place of deep-seated anxiety surrounding the seismic nature of my adopted home of Southern California. For years I’ve been torn between the effortless draw of what I consider ‘paradise found’ with the broader realities of what will all too soon become ‘paradise lost.’ To educate oneself on the geological makeup of California is to question why anyone might take the risk of living in a space so prone to catastrophe. And yet the enduring threat of a sudden tectonic shift is what makes California untouchably sublime—beauty plus anticipatory terror.
There’s terror in geological indifference, and it’s something that most people choose to ignore. I’ve chosen to run at it full speed, embracing it, studying it, even transcribing it. Each of my carvings are based on seismic readings from fault lines that run under the sites I photograph, creating a multitude of surface ruptures that speak to a much larger and far more destructive rupture to come.
Artist Evan Whale captures the sublime beauty of our dynamic landscape in his series Moment Magnitude. Reflecting on the tumultuous nature of California’s shifting fault lines, our curated selection of Whale’s works feel both fluid and frozen, recalling frantic sheets of music or textiles.
Each print is a unique capture of locations throughout the state with high seismic activity. Working from photographs or photograms—camera-less images of light and color—Whale employs mark-making techniques that transcribe seismic records from his photographed sites, or simulates radiating ruptures through his photograms.
Whale goes against the tenet of photographic reproducibility by physically carving into the surface of his prints or chemically altering their background. It's through his methodical destruction that something new is revealed; something that was otherwise invisible below the surface of the print. The surface rupture of the material playfully mirrors a ruptured San Andreas, leaving us to think about the powerful realities we face from living in an earthquake-prone place.
Evan Whale was born in Washington D.C., he lives and works in Los Angeles. Whale received his M.F.A. from Yale University and a B.A. from Bard College. Solo exhibitions include Come And See, Actual Size Los Angeles, i heard, as it were, the noise of thunder, 321 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY among others. His next exhibition is a group show, Tomorrow's Man, November 11 - December 22 at Regen Projects in Los Angeles.