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Evelyn Leavens at McKay Gallery

Artist’s Statement I work through uncertainty and doubt, as I always have. One mark suggests the next. It is in no way depictive. I work through my subconscious until I feel a visual contentment that says to me, “It works”! Artist’s Bio My first pencil marks, made when I was around two or three years old, were followed by pencil marks on absolutely everything, indiscriminately, from then on. A self taught artist, now 87 years old, I still make these marks, still indiscriminately, on everything from canvas to paper, in disciplines ranging from from realism to non-objection. I took only one break from this with my book of Illustrations called “Boswell’s Life Of Boswell”, Simon and Schuster; now a collectors item. You can still find it on my website. These days, I am concentrating entirely on small watercolors. Working on flat surfaces has enabled me to strive for an ever increasing looseness, fluidity and spontaneity, completely free of any preconceptions. An artist my entire life, I have only lived in one home since the age of five and am a born Red Banker. I watched my house being built and in 1926, just before the Great Depression, my parents and I moved in. Today, as friends and neighbors move about me on my childhood street, fine memories remain and I go on producing work that pleases and inspires me and will continue to do so, here in my studio, for as long as time permits. Evelyn Leavens GALLERY STATEMENT Those who know us well will tell you that we are photographers, though most people probably know us for our gallery shows. When we opened this photography studio, 7 years ago now, we thought how nice it would be if “between photo shoots” we could use our beautiful space to have gallery shows for some of our very talented photographer friends. Little did we know, at that time, that we would have as many wonderful and powerful shows as have transpired here. As photographers, we initially fancied this to be a space to feature photography, never guessing that we would exhibit any other medium. Well, times have changed and we have now shown work by many wonderful local painters, potters and sculptors. In fact, as some of you may have noticed, our last photography show was… well, a couple of years ago! Frankly, we’ve been a bit distracted by the vast pool of local talent in other mediums, particularly painters. We’ve also been a bit distracted by our very, very busy photography studio and so, have been pulling back the reigns on the gallery shows a little bit. No matter how hard we pulled however we could not resist the phone call, a few months ago from local legend, Evelyn Leavens. (She would not want us to write that but it’s true). Everyone who knows art in Monmouth County – and many beyond – knows the name Evelyn Leavens. At 87 years old, she has lived such a rich, full life and has overcome such great adversity that almost everyone I meet has a little story to tell when we mention her name. She has been so inspirational to so many people, both by virtue of her beautiful works being on display in so many places, year after year and by her many years teaching her craft to the young people of this community. Liz and I have certainly always known her name and so, were honored to have had the pleasure of photographing her for Xit magazine just a few short years ago. We were proud to make her acquaintance at that time and were astounded to see that her home, the house in which she was raised, was completely full of a lifetimes worth of her own work. We left that day feeling like we had rubbed elbows with Red Bank royalty! So, a couple of months ago, when Evelyn called us and said she wanted to show her new body of work in our space, we were floored (and once again a bit distracted from showing photography). She told us that this new body of work was still largely a figment of her imagination but that we should come and see a sample. The sample that she showed us that day is the image that you see above. Over the next few months, in answer to excited phone calls from Evelyn, we visited frequently and watched our exhibit evolve. What a lovely experience. What an intense result. We hope that you’ll let us share it with you over the next couple of weeks. You can meet Evelyn herself on April 27th or just come and visit her latest creations until May 17th. We recommend all of the above. ]]>

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    McKay Imaging Photography

    12 Monmouth Street, Red Bank, NJ 07701