In California #028: Ned Evans’s H20s

In California #028: Ned Evans’s H20s


Ned Evans’s H20s drip with ocean. A surfer for sixty years, these drawings, paintings, prints, collages, and sculptures, made over the last 25 years, convey his immersion and obsession with water and waves. It’s not surf art in the traditional sense, but more a product of the surfing life.

     PLYNTH, 12x16 | 0909W, 19.5x22.5
      “You always have these things from your earlier years that stay with you,” says Ned, “and when they keep coming up, you can’t deny them. So it’s better just to let them out.”

      Ned grew up in the San Fernando Valley. He took up surfing and skateboarding in his pre-teens, skated on the Dewey Weber team in the mid-sixties, and started hanging ten across Malibu First Point around that same time. At age 17, he moved to Laguna Beach, enrolled at UC Irvine, and studied under art luminaries like Robert Irwin, Ed Moses, Larry Bell, and Craig Kaufman. He liked to paint, and especially liked how the afterglow of a morning surf session would inspire him in the studio. Exhibitions and awards soon followed, and for the last fifty years, surfing and artmaking have been at the center of Ned’s life.

     A HIPPIE DREAM, 48x72 | 0815GS, 15x18  

      Originally known as a formalist, abstract painter of serious rigor, it took Ned many years before he could allow himself to make work so close to his heart.

      “I had this conflict earlier in my career. I thought, ‘You can’t be a surfer. You’ve got to be serious. New York is watching.’ But about 25 years ago I abandoned that idea. I started making the work that felt good to me, and I’ve been the better person for it because I’ve just expanded my whole reach in my head and in my work, and it just frees me up.”

     PROJECTILE, 19x3x2 | POOLS 2018 | TOTEM 1, 11x3x1  

      The H20 work exudes freedom. It curves, twists, splashes, shapeshifts. It gives the feeling of being in flux. Fittingly, it does not adhere to one medium but rather leaps all over the materials map. The high-gloss resin pieces point toward Finish Fetish. The reflective, watery surfaces call to mind Light and Space. There are almost no straight lines or right angles. There are relentless waves, marching shoreward, inviting you along for the ride.

      “Surfing and art-making have been my refuge,” says Ned. “This work represents my six decades of being in the water. It’s memories—and it’s more than memories. It’s dreams.”

More Ned at and @nedevans