Run the Mill is the artist's first solo exhibition at The Hole in NYC in all the gallery spaces. The show will highlight three bodies of work by the material-driven conceptual artist, including scaffolding pieces, “line drawings” and “mop” paintings. The title "Run-of-the-Mill” is meant to evoke both the quotidian and ordinary tasks captured here in artworks, the role that work plays in a “work of art”, and also perhaps the anachronism of the phrase itself. Mills are lost to the industrial past and are no longer the vital center of towns and villages, representing a building and a way of life that no longer exist. The artist reflects often on the movement of people and communities in New York City — where artists often form the climax community before gentrification occurs–and meditates on the forces of preservation and improvement interacting with real people and their lives. The scaffolding works are perhaps the series that focus most closely on those themes of preservation and improvement, as scaffolding can be a sign of neighborhood rejuvenation or neighborhood gentrification. Temporary structures meant to allow people a convenient position to do repairs, they often form a chrysalis around a city building and months later are disassembled to reveal the butterfly. It can mean the destruction of a historic old sign or the refurbishment of a beautiful cast iron façade, but in NYC it almost always means relentless improvement, sanitization and homogenization. This resistance to the driving inevitability of modernization is something Robarts shares with his favorite art historical movement, Arte Povera. Where artists at that time felt modernity threatened their sense of memory and personal history, Robarts is perhaps aware as well of the class-based nature of the sanitization of New York City that forces ever-outwards blue collar workers and all but the most financially viable contemporary artists. If no one but the uber-rich can afford to live in the city, where will the experimentation and innovation of untested young artists take place? Regardless of the struggles over having enough “room to work” in the city, these works seem to be more fun than the chores they come out of. The creative mind applied to materials and processes of the conventionally laborious here yields excitement and even humor. As they say, if you find a job you love you will never work a day in your life.
Evan Robarts - Run the Mill
The Hole NYC, March 3 - April 5