Inaugural Exhibit of the Pennsylvania Arts
Evans was invited by PA Governor elect Tom Wolf, PA First Lady Frances Wolf, and the Wolf Inaugural Committee to help organize and facilitate a very special exhibit at the State Museum of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg showcasing a diverse cross section of PA artists throughout history. Evans worked with a curatorial team (including staff from the PA Council on the Arts and the State Museum) that reached out to nearly 50 museums and arts organizations from across the state and pulled together an exhibit of more than 50 works in a period of just two months.
The resulting exhibit, which opened on January 20, 2015 as part of the Wolf Inaugural Festivities, was unprecedented and breathtaking in its scope and diversity. It included works by such iconic PA artists as Andrew Wyeth, N.C. Wyeth, Thomas Eakins, Andy Warhol, Charles Sheeler, Charles Demuth, John Sloan, Horace Pippin, Gibert Stuart, Benjamin West, Daniel Garber, William Glackens and Cecilia Beaux among others as well as a wonderfully diverse cross section of living artists from all walks of life and levels of accomplishment from across the state. Lenders to the exhibit included the Brandywine River Museum, Barnes Foundation, Philadelphia Museum of Art, PA Academey of Fine Arts, Carnegie Museum and many other museums and arts organizations, large and small from across the state.
Thomas Eakins, Home Ranch, 1892, oil on canvas, 24 x 20 inches, collection of Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA. Gift of Mrs. Thomas Eakins and Miss Mary Adeline Williams, 1929
Andrew Wyeth, Blue Dump, 1945, tempera on panel, 24.8 x 39.5 inches, collection of Brandywine River Museum of Art
Pennsylvania Arts Experience
The PA Arts Experience was a non profit arts organization founded and co-managed from 2005 to 2017 by Rob Evans along with a talented team of directors. Funded in part by a grant from the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, it's primary feature was an artist trail, website and orientation center/gallery promoting member artists, galleries and museums. It's goal was to forge connections between art-minded tourists and the many accomplished artists and artisans located along designated rural roadways throughout the scenic river valleys of Southeastern Pennsylvania by providing exclusive access to their studios as well as to the many museums, galleries and other cultural and heritage destinations in the region.
In 2009 Evans curated an exhibition at York College Art Gallery featuring works by PAE member artists as well as a stunning group of photographic portraits, taken by master photographer Bill Simone, of member artists in their studios. In the fall of 2015, at the request of PA First Lady Frances Wolf, Evans curated an exhibit at the Governor's Residence in Harrisburg, PA featuring over 70 works by artist members of the PA Arts Experience.
Bill Simone, Portrait of Robert Patierno in his Studio, 2009, photograph
Bill Simone, Portrait of Lorann Jacobs in her Studio, 2009, photograph
Visions of the Susquehanna: 250 Years of Paintings by American Masters
In 2005 Evans organized and guest curated a traveling exhibition featuring more than two centuries of paintings of the Susquehanna River on loan from museums and private collections across the nation. The exhibit opened at the Lancaster Museum of Art and traveled through 2008 to the Susquehanna Art Museum, PA Governor's Residence, Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, York College Art Gallery, and the Roberson Museum and Science Center. The exhibit, tour and accompanying 80 page catalog were funded by a generous grant from the Richard C. von Hess Foundation.
Comprised of approximately 40 major paintings spanning nearly 250 years, this exhibit included two groups of work. The first was a cross section of the many important images of the river created in the mid 18th century through the early 20th century, including works by such prominent American painters as Benjamin West, Jasper Francis Cropsey, Sanford Robinson Gifford, George Inness, Thomas Moran, Charles Demuth, Stephen Etnier and others. The other group consisted of paintings of or about the river by a group of nationally prominent contemporary artists (Mark Innerst, Leonard Koscianski, George Sorrels, Debra Bermingham, Randall Exon, Peter Paone and others), many of whom agreed to create works specifically for this exhibit. While linked by the common thread of the Susquehanna, the exhibit also examined the contrasting points of view between these two very different groups of work: the 18th and 19th century romantic view of the sublime landscape as a metaphor for America's promise versus the current postmodern role of the landscape as an open ended and often detached vehicle for presenting a multitude of perspectives and critiques on contemporary culture, investigating such issues as environmental decay, nuclear energy, and urban sprawl.
Benjamin West, A View on the Susquehanna, 1767, oil on canvas, 14 x 18 inches, collection of Winterthur Museum, Winterthur, DE, gift of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Fraad, Jr.
Jasper Francis Cropsey, Starrucca Viaduct, 1865, oil on canvas, 22.4 x 36.4 inches, collection of Toledo Museum of Art, Toledo, OH. Purchased with funds from the Florence Scott Libbey Bequest in Memory of her Father, Maurice A. Scott
Randall Exon, Lift, 2006, oil on canvas, 24 x 36 inches, private collection
Transforming the Commonplace: Masters of Contemporary Realism
In 2003 Evans organized and guest curated the exhibit, Transforming the Commonplace: Masters of Contemporary Realism at the Susquehanna Art Museum which featured major work by such internationally acclaimed painters as Antonio Lopez Garcia, Odd Nerdrum, Jamie Wyeth, Susan Hauptman, Debra Bermingham, William Beckman, Bo Bartlett, Vincent Desiderio, Gregory Gillespie, Steven Assael, Tom Uttech, Neil Welliver and Brett Bigbee among many others.
Examining the familiar and everyday around them with feverish intensity and devotion, each of the artists presented in this exhibit transform commonplace subject matter through the use of ethereal light, directed compositions and unusual vantage points, pushing the boundaries of trditional realism, giving it a freshness and relevance within the contemporary art realm.